New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said yesterday that the world’s most famous minor leaguer, Tim Tebow, has been hitting multiple times per week. That clearly suggests that Tebow, who broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, is coming back next season.
It’s also worth noting that Van Wagenen noted that Tebow is on “a real mission to play in the big leagues next year,” and that when asked if that meant he’d play in the big leagues in 2019, Van Wagenen did not rule it out. Tebow will likely begin the 2019 season at Triple-A Syracuse, but I would not be at all surprised if he were given 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.
How that makes you feel is up to you, but I’ve come around on Tebow a good deal. Yes, I still think much of what has him playing baseball these past couple of years is a stunt and no I do not think that he truly belongs in the bigs on merit, but (a) he has played at at least a respectable level for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience; and (b) even if you believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, that does not preclude you from giving Tebow a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.
Now, it seems, that includes doing the hard work of coming back from an injury that has ended a lot of players’ baseball careers. If calling him up to the bigs for a fun experience does not harm anyone else, who are we to say it shouldn’t be done?
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.