Sox swap: Red Sox acquire reliever Matt Thornton from White Sox

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The Red Sox added another lefty to their bullpen tonight, completing a trade with the White Sox for reliever Matt Thornton. The Red Sox have moved Andrew Miller to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the roster, according to Alex SpeierPer Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, the White Sox have received outfield prospect Brandon Jacobs in return.

Thornton, now 36 years old, had been with the White Sox since March 20, 2006, when the team acquired him from the Mariners for Joe Borchard. Over his eight years with the White Sox, Thornton posted a 3.28 ERA and struck out 25 percent of batters he faced. He has a $6 million club option for 2014 with a $1 million buyout.

Jacobs was drafted by the Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. At the age of 22, he was promoted to Double-A Portland for the first time this season for one game. He went 2-for-3, then was sent back to A-ball. He was promoted again two days ago. Overall, in 335 plate appearances with Single-A Salem, he posted a .774 OPS.

Tim Tebow homers in spring training game

Tim Tebow
Mark Brown/Getty Images
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Mets minor league outfielder Tim Tebow hit a two-run home run during Tuesday afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the Tigers. It’s his first spring training home run since beginning his professional baseball career in late 2016.

Tebow, 32, is, of course, a former college football legend. He had a much-anticipated NFL career that ended up brief and disappointing, prompting a change of vocation. Tebow was passable with Double-A Binghamton in 2018, but the Mets promoted him to Triple-A for the 2019 season anyway. That was a mistake. Through 264 plate appearances, Tebow hit .163/.240/.255, ranking as the worst hitter in the minor leagues.

Tebow also walked along with the homer in three plate appearances on Tuesday. While it’s a solid early showing, Tebow participating with the other big leaguers or soon-to-be big leaguers in spring training is something of a sideshow. If he were a regular ballplayer working his way up the ranks, he likely would have been cut after last season. He certainly wouldn’t have been given an invitation to big league camp the next year.

There are aspects of the Tebow situation to respect: that he’s athletic and dedicated enough to attempt a professional career in another sport, for example. He moves tickets and merchandise. But one can’t help but wonder about the roster spot he’s holding that would otherwise go to a more deserving player.