I don’t know how you can say with a straight face that signing Tim Tebow to a minor league contract is not a publicity stunt. And especially when the organization that signed him is the New York Mets who are just a walking, talking ‘LOL’. Tebow who as we all know was an NFL quarterback for a brief time and Heisman winning quarterback at Florida has not played baseball since high school which was 11 years ago. Tebow held a private workout session to which some scouts said his ceiling would be a designated hitter at best. Which a DH will definitely help the Mets in the National League…

The one thing we know that matters most to the Mets’ frugal owners, the Wilpons, is money. So giving Tebow a $100,000 signing bonus I think puts this out of the realm of being a publicity stunt. But then when reports surface that Tebow demanded that he still be able to keep his College Football/SEC job at ESPN again makes me think this is all a joke and Tebow nor the Mets are all in on this. How can Tebow be serious about honing his craft, which he hasn’t done competitively in a decade, if he’s going to leave one or two days a week to fly to his television gig?

Time will tell if Tebow is truly dedicated to being a professional baseball player. He’s going to have to earn his way through the Instructional League and Fall League before even sniffing a Spring Training diamond or anything beyond that. Hopefully the Mets don’t cut him any breaks based on his name alone but then again this is the real world and people do get preferential treatment. Maybe for the Mets they figure they can make $100k back in Tebow jerseys and merchandise based on his fanatical following. It will be an interesting journey either way and it’s just the beginning.

THE STRASBURG CONUNDRUM

Sometimes it’s better to take the money in hand than to wait for free agency and take your chances especially when you’re a pitcher. Earlier this season Stephen Strasburg agreed to a 7 year, $175 million extension with the Washington Nationals instead of testing the waters of free agency. This is quite an anomaly for a Scott Boras client who loves to set the market and bleed teams for the maximum amounts his players can get. It seemed like a good deal for the Nationals who might’ve had to go higher than the $25 million per year average and a good deal for Strasburg to get long term money just in case his injury history rears its’ ugly head. And just like that Strasburg is hurt, again.

Back in 2010 Strasburg underwent Tommy John surgery requiring him to miss the entire 2011 season. When he returned in 2012 he looked as dominant as ever but we had to endure the infamous “Innings Limit” debate. The Nats opted to protect Strasburg holding him out of the playoffs. The Nationals might have been destined for the World Series had their dreams not been derailed by the Cardinals in the NLDS. Three years went by and no injury issues for Strasburg until this season. First it was an upper back strain and now a flexor mass strain in his elbow. The MRI has come back clean and there is no damage to the ulnar collateral ligament so TJ surgery not being discussed.screen-shot-9916-8-14-pm

There are no guarantees in baseball either from the pitcher of the organization, the chances to win now are slim, teams’s should go for it and scrap innings limits. The chances to lock in long term contracts are slim as well and with a pitcher’s career in the balance on any given pitch, I think it’s wise for them to take the money when they can because it might not be there tomorrow. We’ve seen it go both ways, you protect a player he still gets hurt. You let a player go without limitations he still get hurts. I think the lesson here is don’t be reckless but don’t be too conservative either, chances to win the World Series don’t come around all the time.

BRIAN BULL-DOZIER

What in the world has Brian Dozier been eating for breakfast? The Minnesota Twins second basemen is the one shinning light in an otherwise dark season for the Twins, who were the first team officially eliminated from the playoffs this week. Dozier is up to 39 home runs on the season, trailing the Orioles’ Mark Trumbo by two dingers. Recently Dozier has homered in five straight games and he’s within reach of the all time record of HR (42) by a second basemen in a single season set by Rogers Hornsby in 1922 and Davey Johnson in 1973. Amazing that Robinson Cano, Ryne Sandburg or Alfonso Soriano are not on top of that list.screen-shot-9916-8-11-pm-2

Dozier has 114 career home runs (5 seasons) which is more than Ichiro Suzuki has hit in his entire 16 year career. Dozier’s numbers have increased each season from 6-18-23-28 and now 39. The 39 HR is the most by any Twins player since Haron Killebrew who hasn’t played since 1970. The most incredible part of all of this is the majority of the damage has been done in the second half of the season.

Pre ASG – .246 AVG, 14 HR, 43 RBI, .450 SLG, .785 OPS

Post ASG – .323 AVG, 25 HR, 49 RBI, .755 SLG, 1.122 OPS

He’s feasted on the American League Central with 28 of his home runs coming within the division. Dozier’s lit up the Royals for 11 long balls, 8 against the White Sox, 6 against the Indians and 3 versus the Tigers. Unfortunately for the Twins, 27 of his home runs have come with no one on base which would explain the relatively lower RBI total. Dozier won’t qualify for the MVP race because the Twins are an abhorrent mess but he’s 8th in the American League in WAR with a 6.1 rating and at 29 years old he’s a reason to look forward to next season.

THE BEARD DOES MATTER
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Before the trade deadline expired the San Diego Padres sent pitcher Andrew Cashner to the Marlins back when Miami thought they had a chance at the Wild Card. Cashner at 6 feet 6 inches and 220 lbs normally rocks a very heavy and thick beard. It’s been his trademark for a few years now but there’s a problem. The Miami Marlins have a team rule of no facial hair allowed ala the New York Yankees. Cashner complied with the rules and shaved off his beard and will sport a clean face for the remainder of this season. But with free agency looming what does the future entail for Cashner?

Recently he was quoted as saying, “(the beard) is a big deal to me in free agency”. He stated that he would be open to re-signing with the Marlins if the organization reconsiders its’ no beard policy. While I’m sure what Cashner is saying is coming from a real place when the money is on the table let’s see what he decides. Right now he needs to work on his numbers and start pitching better baseball games. In his seven starts with Miami he’s gone 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA which is consistent with his time in San Diego where he went 28-43 with a 3.67 ERA over five seasons.