Craig Calcaterra

PEORIA, AZ - OCTOBER 13:  Tim Tebow #15 (New York Mets) of the Scottsdale Scorpions warms up on deck during the Arizona Fall League game against the Peoria Javelinas at Peoria Stadium on October 13, 2016 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Tim Tebow’s Arizona Fall League season ends with horrendous assessments by scouts

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The Arizona Fall League ends this week. Tim Tebow’s stint in the Fall League ended last night. The final batting line: .194/.296/.242 in 70 plate appearances in 19 games. He hit three doubles and no homers. He walked eight times. He struck out 20 times.

To be fair, Tebow did improve as his fall season wore on, increasing his walk rate and picking up some more hits — he was 8-for-his-last-30. The concern, however, is that the one thing scouts said he really had going for him — his power — was AWOL in Arizona. In improved batting eye was encouraging, but if you can’t use that eye to pick your spots to deploy your home run swing, it’s not worth a ton.

Ultimately, of course, we’re talking about very small sample sizes here, rendering a mere look at the stats less important than it might otherwise be. More important would be the assessment of scouts who would be in a position to look past the results and determine whether there was anything promising there. Batting approaches that, even if they didn’t result in a lot of hits, could provide the scaffolding for something he could build in the low minors next spring. What do the scouts think on that score?

“Awful,” said one AL scout.

“Stinks,” said one from the NL.

“Ugly,” said another executive. “In the field and at the plate, nothing looks natural.”

Yikes.

Executives quoted in that story, from the New York Post, are a bit more charitable. They note that he did improve with instruction and that he was “not an embarrassment.” One notes that he was, as expected, a good influence on his teammates. One also notes, however, that his age is the primary thing working against him. The suggestion being that his skills are extremely rudimentary at this point and would take so much time to get up to a useful level, he’ll likely be too old if he ever reaches that level.

The biggest question now is what the Mets do with Tebow. He says he is still committed to playing. Sandy Alderson sounds like he’s still committed to the Tebow experiment. I’d assume a rookie league team is the place to be in 2017, but we’ll see in the spring.

The Yankees are looking at Carlos Beltran, Edwin Encarnacion as DH options

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Carlos Beltran #36 of the New York Yankees hits a home run against the Oakland Athletics during the eighth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on April 20, 2016  in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Brian McCann was expected to get most of the starts at DH for the Yankees in 2017. But as of yesterday he’s no longer a Yankee, so New York is in the market for a designated hitter. There are a lot of options out there in that regard. To that end, Jon Heyman reports that they’re “seriously looking” at Carlos Beltran and Edwin Encarnacion.

Beltran, of course, played for the Yankees in 2014, 2015 and for 99 games last year before being traded to Texas. He’d be more of a short term option for New York. Encarnacion might prove to be a better bat than Beltran, but he won’t come cheaply, as he’s reportedly in the market for a four-year deal. The Yankees have been trying to move away from long-term commitments to veterans over 30, so signing Encarnacion, while certainly defensible, would be a bit out of step with the club’s new approach.

While the free agent market is thin, it’s not too bad for those seeking a slugger. The Yankees’ interest will likely heat that market up considerably.

 

MLB, MLBPA considering going to a 26-man roster

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal reports that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are talking about going from a 25-man to a 26-man roster during from April-August, and limiting the September roster to 28 players. Currently, clubs can use the entire 40-man roster in any game after rosters expand in September.

The move would address the concerns many around the game have about teams using far too many players in September, bringing games to a grinding halt and altering the competitive landscape during home stretch of the playoffs. Which, to be fair, hasn’t been proven to be responsible for costing anyone a specific playoff slot. It does create some uncomfortable optics, however, as some clubs use September as audition time while others are going with, more or less their full-season 25-man complement. It annoys people.

The addition of the 26th man is a tradeoff to the union as, in light of the September reduction, 12 fewer players per club would be eligible to accrue service time in September. Now one more will be able to accrue it all year. Given that most teams don’t actually call up 15 dudes when the rosters open up, however, it’s not as unfair a tradeoff as you might think.

A downside to all of this: that 26th man is almost certainly going to be used by teams to add a 14th reliever, encouraging more pitching changes and making games drag even more. But hey, I’m all for the employment of lefty specialists. What else are they going to do? Marketing? They have no skills other than getting lefties out and giving odd quotes. Lefties are almost unemployable in the real world.