Rangers considered to have “inside track” on Jose Abreu

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Ben Badler of Baseball America, who covers the international prospect world better than anyone, has a lengthy new article about Cuban slugger Jose Abreu and his “green light” to sign after being cleared by MLB.

Quite a few teams have been linked to Abreu by various reports, but Badler rates the Rangers as his most likely landing spot. It makes sense, as first base has been a weak spot and the Rangers have certainly shown a willingness to shell out big money for high-profile international players in Yu Darvish. Badler also notes that the Rangers have a good relationship with Abreu’s agency.

He also lists the Red Sox, Pirates, Nationals, and White Sox as possible suitors and, while not named by Badler, the Giants and Marlins have also been mentioned in connection to Abreu frequently by other sources.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.