By Zach Gewelb
Reports have surfaced that while Tim Tebow is likely to begin the 2019 season at Triple-A, new Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen would not rule out the possibility that the former football player could make the club’s Opening Day roster.
What a world we live in that Tebow is on the verge of becoming a professional Major League Baseball player despite limited skills. Granted, has shown improvement each year as he has advanced in the minors, but there’s a big leap between Triple-A and the big leagues, and Tebow has yet to prove he can handle such a transition.
Tebow, 31, began the season at High-A St. Lucie and overall hit .273 with six homers and played in the Eastern League All-Star game. Not great, but not terrible.
We shouldn’t rule out Tebow getting the call to The Show next season — the Mets stand to make tons of money with marketing and merchandising due to Tebow’s cult-like following — but for their GM to say he might make the Opening Day roster is ridiculous.
There are better options either on the roster or available for cheap in free agency who are better suited to fill out the roster than Tebow — long-term veterans who deserve first dibs on a roster spot.
Again, Tebow — assuming he plays well in Spring Training and in Triple-A early this season — will get his shot some time this season. But that time isn’t Opening Day. The Mets need to be smart and patient. Let Tebow dominate Triple-A and head to the big leagues with some confidence and momentum and see what happens.
Meanwhile, the Yankees made the right move in resigning their two longest-tenured players to a one-year deals.
The club originally declined Brett Gardner’s $12.5 million option for 2019, electing to buy him out and bring him back at a reduced rate.
He still gets $9.5 million — $7.5 million in base salary plus the $2 million buyout — which is more than Gardner would have received on the free agent market. He has been in the organization since 2005.
Reports surfaced Tuesday night that the Yankees will resign CC Sabathia to a one-year $8 million deal after the burly lefty pitched on a one-year $10 million contract in 2018. Sabathia has reinvented himself late in his career from a flamethrower to a crafty veteran and is well worth the 2019 investment.
While Gardner and Sabathia are no longer the players they were in their prime, they still have value on the field moving forward. But the Yankees are more attracted to their value in the clubhouse. Both are leaders in the locker room and have helped guide in the next generation of Yankees.
Young players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino will benefit from the stability and professionalism that Gardner and Sabathia bring to the club. That alone makes both players worth the investment.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe