On September 8, the Mets made news across the baseball world by signing former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow to a minor league contract with a $100,000 signing bonus. He has been assigned to the Mets’ instructional league roster, a team that will include numerous top prospects in the organization.
In an interview with Newsday, the two-time SEC Player of the Year explained how excited he was to start a new chapter of his life.
“I’m excited about it. I really am. I’ve loved the game of baseball. Hitting a baseball is one of my favorite things to do in sports. I’m excited about the journey, the challenge, the difficulties, all of it. It’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s something that’s definitely exciting for me.”
Despite his enthusiasm, Tebow has numerous hurdles in front of him before he can be considered proficient on a minor league ball field, let alone a major league one. In addition to not having played baseball competitively since his junior year in high school, Tim Tebow’s workout and training schedule will be truncated due to prior commitments with the SEC Network. The former college standout will stay with the team from Monday to Thursday, before leaving on Friday to fulfill his college football broadcasting commitments over the weekend.
The 29-year-old rookie, who is intending on transitioning from a quarterback to the outfielder, received mixed reviews from scouts during his baseball showcase. Most agreed that the left-hander possesses raw power and average speed, but questions about his ability to hit and field and a weak arm will limit his ability as a baseball player. Such scouting reports have raised questions as to why Sandy Alderson signed the former quarterback. The Mets GM has been adamant that the signing wasn’t a PR move.
“The notion that we're going to spend $100,000 on a bonus for a player so we can sell a couple hundred dollars' worth of T-shirts in Kingsport, those economics don't work," Alderson said of such claims. “This was not about making money.”
In addition to believing in the experiment, Alderson has said that Tebow is a “role model” whose presence could benefit his younger teammates, some of whom Tebow will be ten years their senior. To Tebow, that piece of praise meant the most to him, taking pride in his character.
“That meant a lot. I’m just grateful for him and his interest in me as a person, as a baseball player. That was one thing that was really cool in our talks, that he wanted me as a person as well. You could see that. What I could try to bring to the young kids that are just starting this journey. Not that I’ve got all the right answers, but I’ve been through a lot, a lot of highs and lows, so to try to share that experience and some of what I’ve been through with those kids.”
Instructional league workouts begin Monday, September 19.