Tim Tebow’s dream of becoming a professional baseball player still has some life. The former NFL quarterback is in spring training with the New York Mets, hoping to make the roster for the 2017 MLB season.
New York signed Tebow to a minor league contract in September, giving the former Heisman Trophy winner a $100,000 signing bonus. He competed in the Arizona Fall League, and he now finds himself with the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida, as a non-roster invitee.
Considering Tebow hadn’t played competitive baseball since he was a high school junior in 2004, the signing was viewed by many as a marketing ploy. But general manager Sandy Alderson was adamant that the Mets didn’t sign Tebow in order to sell jerseys or generate interest in the team.
“I’m not going to worry about what everyone’s writing or what everybody’s thinking or however I’m being marketed,” Tebow said, via mlb.com, Monday. “I just want to be able to continue the process, enjoy the process, enjoy every day, get to know my teammates and have fun out there.”
If that’s the case, does Tebow actually have a chance to make New York’s Opening Day roster?
Tebow takes BP pic.twitter.com/ix5NpMaLUE
Even though he’s competing in spring training, any questions about Tebow’s ability to play baseball at the major-league level were likely answered in the fall. In 19 games, Tebow hit just .194 with no home runs and two RBI. Among the 69 players that qualified, Tebow ranked just 64th with a .538 OPS. His .242 slugging percentage was fourth-worst in the league, and he struck out 20 times in 62 at-bats.
Tebow did improve down the stretch of the short season. He picked up nine hits in 32 at bats in his last 11 games, posting an impressive .425 on-base percentage. Tebow even had a walk-off single on Nov. 8, and he hit nine home runs during his first batting practice session of the spring.
However, between his overall numbers and questionable defense in the outfield, it looks like Tebow’s NFL career will be much more successful than his professional baseball one. It’s hard to believe he’ll beat out the 16 other non-roster invitees, which include some of the top prospects in the Mets’ organization.
Tebow was a first-round NFL draft pick in 2010, and he led the Denver Broncos to the playoffs the following season. After playing 12 games for the New York Jets in 2012, he never took another NFL snap in the regular season. Tebow’s last NFL action came in a preseason game for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.
Tim Tebow works out at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on Sept. 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Photo: Getty Images
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