08 Sep Tim Tebow: It Is What It Is
I wish I had a more nuanced opinion about the Mets’ Tim Tebow signing. I wanted to more angry by the move, more excited, maybe even more confused, but the only thought that popped into my head when I saw a picture of the former Heisman Trophy winner atop my twitter feed with a Mets logo photoshopped on his shirt was, “it is what it is.”
The whole story kind of bugged me initially. Tebow hadn’t played competitive baseball regularly since he was in high school, and the whole notion that he could just announce a workout after not picking up a bat in over a decade and still have Major League scouts from almost every team show up irked me even more. I get it, he’s a 2-time NCAA National Champion quarterback and a freak athlete, but there are kids who work their entire lives trying to make their dreams happen and it just didn’t seem fair that he got handed an opportunity to pursue a career in his second-favorite sport just because of his football prowess.
My feelings of ill will towards Tebow and his decision to play baseball faded quickly as annoyance began to mutate into apathy. What do I care if Tim Tebow plays baseball? He’s 29 years-old and will need a crap-ton of work at the minor league level and in instructional leagues until he’s ready to help a major league team. In fact, he likely won’t sniff a big league diamond before he realizes that broadcasting is the better career move. The only chance that Tebow’s baseball pursuit affects me is if he signs with the… Ah shit.
Okay. So Tebow signed with the New York Mets; my favorite team since I was old enough realized not everyone in the tristate area had to be a Yankee fan. So what? Adding Tebow to the organization for pennies on the dollar really doesn’t mean anything for the major league club. He’s not going to block any future major leaguers and he’s not going to be in the big league clubhouse causing a distraction. The only way in which he can affect the Mets is indirectly and positively as a potential additional revenue stream or a good-will move towards his agent Van Wagenen who also represents Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard.
Sure, Tebow runs a 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds and has incredible raw power that translates into BP dingers over 400 feet, but he’s also stiff and mechanical with that 6’3” 255 lbs frame, and has a throwing arm that grades out at 40 on the prospect scale of 20-80 according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. No scouts saw a outfield gem waiting to be unearthed for their big league club. They saw a low-risk, high-reward character-guy who will help sell jerseys, Sprint Training, and minor league tickets. Not quite a publicity stunt, but almost. Every team sent a scout there for the same reason, and the Mets just happened to be the team that signed him.
New York Post Baseball columnist Joel Sherman put the odds at Tebow making it to The Show at about one percent. Based on the evaluations from scouts floating around the Internet, I think this redemption story fizzles out in Act I with an injury, or in Act II with minor league frustrations. Maybe he defies the odds and sees some major league time in Act III; but until then, Tim Tebow’s baseball career is what it is.