Offseason acquisition Mat Latos is not off to a promising start in Miami. The 27-year-old righty got lit up for seven earned runs on six hits and two walks Tuesday evening in his Marlins debut against the Braves — a debut that lasted less than inning. He recorded only two outs, and one of those outs came on a sacrifice bunt by opposing pitcher Alex Wood. Here’s how that top-of-the-first played out at Marlins Park …
Latos is currently sporting a 94.50 ERA. Many projected the Marlins to be a real contender this season in the National League and it’s silly to overreact to anything on April 7, but their starting rotation sure looks flimsy beyond Henderson Alvarez, who had a nice debut Monday. Jose Fernandez isn’t due to return from Tommy John surgery until June, and even the best pitchers tend to struggle in their first year back from that procedure.
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.