- Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
- Tim Tebow was invited to spring training with the New York Mets, bringing the former NFL quarterback one step closer to fulfilling his major league dreams.
- If you believe the Mets are actually interested in Tebow as a player, the spring training invite makes sense in that he will have the chance to prove himself against major league pitching.
- More cynical minds see Tebow’s invite as a promotional stunt, that will allow the Mets to sell more spring training tickets.
It looks like Tim Tebow is getting another shot at the majors.
On Friday the New York Mets announced that the quarterback-turned-analyst-turned-outfielder had earned an invite to spring training with the team as a non-roster invitee. What exactly this means depends on how seriously you take the Mets’ interest in Tebow.
For those who believe the Mets are interested in seeing what Tebow can do against major league pitching, this is a move that makes sense. Bringing up Tebow to spring training full time will give the Mets staff the opportunity to see if there’s any hope for the project. At 30 years old, Tebow’s not the type of player you want to have bouncing around in the minors year-after-year, and a few weeks worth of at-bats could give an idea if he’s worth keeping around.
There are definitely some out there who believe this to be the case.
Saw @TimTebow play in Rome, Ga. last year and was on the field during BP. Dude can mash. Needs work, as did everybody on his Single-A team. Interested to see what happens this year. It's not a PR stunt.
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) January 19, 2018
That said, if you are cynical about the Mets’ belief in Tebow as a potential player in the majors, this looks an awful like a PR stunt. Inviting Tebow up for spring training will bring with it media attention, and will surely help with ticket and merchandise sales, as Tebow’s national profile is infinitely higher than that of your average prospect.
Taking that cynicism even further, you could see Tebow’s spring training invite as a test run of sorts for the Mets in preparation to bring him up for a promotional tour later in the season if the Mets are out of the playoff race and looking to sell some tickets in August and September.
If social media is to be believed, there are far more people who believe something closer to this.
"Tim Tebow isn't a publicity stunt"
30-year-olds who hit .226 and have a .912 fielding % in single-A don't get spring training spots at all, let alone at major league camp. Just call it what it is.
— Michael Borkey (@MichaelBorkey) January 19, 2018
No doubt in my mind that Tim Tebow is getting at bats for the 2018 Mets
— It's me, the Green Man. (@sschreiber13) January 19, 2018
I cannot tell you how many minor league players have told me how disgusted they are in regards to the opportunity the Mets have handed to Tim Tebow. Feel as though they have had to grind and work hard their whole life to get a sniff. Some will never get a big league camp invite.
— Matt Kardos (@mattkardos) January 19, 2018
Tebow’s minor league career thus far has not been a total embarrassment, but it has also been far from what a prospect should look like at age 30. Through 126 games in the minor leagues last year, Tebow had a .226 batting average with eight home runs. While he was not an invitee to spring training last year, he did appear in some spring games for the Mets, where he did not play particularly well but did serve to drum up interest in the games.
Only time will tell what future baseball holds for Tim Tebow, but this spring will bring him closer to his major league dream than ever before.