Mets Sign Tim Tebow to a Minor League Deal
12:05 p.m.: Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the team isn't thinking about how likely Tebow is to make it to the majors, rather focusing on the process and what it might take.
11:50 a.m.: Tebow thanked Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Alderson for the opportunity. When asked what his best position was, Tebow said his "best position is whatever they feel like it is," adding that he's comfortable in the outfield and at first base.
11:45 a.m.: Alderson said the signing of Tebow was strictly a baseball decision, noting that aside from Tebow's age, this is a "classic player development situation" for the Mets.
"While I and the organization are mindful of the novel nature of this situation, this decision was strictly driven by baseball," Alderson said. "This was not something that was driven by marketing considerations or anything of the sort. We are extremely intrigued with the potential that Tim has."
9:00 a.m.: Tebow, 29, will report to the Instructional League in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He worked out in front of 46 scouts from 28 MLB teams last week, according to ESPN, and several teams, including the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies, had expressed interest in him.
Tebow hasn't played baseball since 2005, when he was a junior in high school. The Los Angeles Angels had expressed interest in drafting him, though Tebow did not play baseball his senior year to shift his focus to football.
A former Heisman-winning quarterback at the University of Florida, Tebow was a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, starting his career with the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, however he has not appeared in an NFL game since 2012 with the Jets.
10:40 am: First off, this idea that signing Tebow will be a distraction for the big-league team is a little irrational. I mean, it'll be a day or two of questions and that'll be that. It's not like this guy will be playing for the Mets this season. This is more of a next-season story, but will obviously garner attention today because of the announcement, conference call, etc. After that, I expect life will return to talking about the playoff race, injuries, scoreboard watching, and what is happening with the big league team in September...
8:08 am: Not surprisingly, the consensus among scouts with whom I've talked that watched him say he has speed and can hit a ball over the fence, but Tebow isn't likely to demonstrate power consistently enough to justify ever being on a big-league roster. He also projects to be a below-average hitter and fielder mostly because of his size, though he does have a decent arm, they said.
"I thought he was OK," a major league scout told USA Today. "For not having played as long as he had, I thought he did OK. That's a big dude, for as fast as he can run. The power was impressive, but I wish he could have translated it maybe a little better (against live pitching)."
At 29 years old, it's hard to imagine these skills getting any better than they are.
The Mets sent an area scout to watch Tebow at his workout last month, people at the event told me. They also left feeling it was very unlikely Sandy Alderson ended up being the guy inking Tebow to a deal. These people were apparently wrong on their read of the Mets. Hopefully, they're also wrong on their read on Tebow's baseball skills.
At the very least, the Mets get some fun publicity from this when he suits up in spring training. Also, whichever minor league affiliate ends up hosting him will be very appreciative of the attention, I'm sure. It's a nice bone to throw to a disgruntled or dissatisfied affiliate. Tebow himself stands to gain selling a ton of memorabilia and media moments. So, speaking from a public relations point of view, this makes total sense. I mean, why not? He's a nice, positive, confident person with a huge following. It can't hurt.
That said, from a baseball perspective, the odds of him improving and getting to the Mets (or, at least helping the Mets) seem very small.