Mets considering sending Jenrry Mejia to the bullpen

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Mets starter Jenrry Mejia, who held the Phillies to two runs in 4 2/3 innings in Friday night’s start, may find himself in the bullpen soon, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Prior to the start, Mejia was coming off of a couple of tough outings against the Marlins and Rockies in which he allowed a combined 14 runs in 10 innings.

Some believe Mejia profiles better as a reliever given his arsenal and the fact that his effectiveness significantly drops off his third time through the batting order. Over his career, he has held opponents to a .641 OPS the first time he faces them in a game, .771 the second time, and .953 the third time, per Baseball Reference.

If Mejia moves to the bullpen, the Mets could slide Daisuke Matsuzaka into the rotation. The Mets also plan to call up pitching prospect Rafael Montero soon to contribute out of the bullpen. Their plan is to use him in relief for a bit, then send him back down to Triple-A Las Vegas to stretch out as a starter, and then later call him back up to pitch out of the rotation.

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.