Former Heisman winner and ex-NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow, signed a contract to play minor league baseball for the New York Mets organization. The contract, which was signed on September 8, gives Tebow a $100,000 signing bonus, the largest a team can give to an undrafted free agent.
Tebow held a workout for scouts with 27 professional franchises showing interest in the 29-year-old outfielder. The Atlanta Braves were rumored to be the favorites to land him but ultimately, the two sides couldn’t reach a deal.
Despite being not playing for the University of Florida since 2009, Tebow is still involved with college football as he works for the SEC Network as an analyst. The Mets were the only team who would allow Tebow to split time between being a baseball player and an analyst.
Tebow will be sent to the Instructional League, which begins September 18, to get playing time before being promoted to a higher league. Since Tebow is older than most of the prospects he will be playing with, it is rumored that if he receives the promotion, he will skip single-A baseball and go straight to the Mets AA team in Binghamton, New York.
While known for his talent on the football field, Tebow was a solid baseball player in high school as well. He only played two years, 2004 and 2005, for Nease High School in Florida, but was able to impress coach Kevin Fagan with his skills. As a sophomore, Tebow stood at 6’3 and weighed 215 pounds, only 20 pounds lighter than what he currently weighs. Fagan claims that Tebow’s incredible power is what stood out the most. A college scout once asked Fagan who Tebow was after he hit a 400-foot homerun (a homerun in many professional stadiums.)
In his final year at Nease, Tebow was named an All-State baseball player. Since he skipped his senior year to play football at the University of Florida, his junior year of high school was the last time Tebow played organized baseball.
Tebow signing with the Mets has caused a stir in both the baseball and football worlds. Baltimore Oriole Adam Jones doesn’t think the former football player has what it takes to make it to the pros. On Twitter, Jones joked by saying; “After this @MLB season I’m going try out for the @NFL this offseason,” and like Tebow with baseball, he hasn’t played football since high school.
In the NFL, former teammates of Tebow wish him well in his journey through the minor leagues. Darrelle Revis, a cornerback for the New York Jets, says he “is rooting for” Tebow while Eric Decker, also of the New York Jets sees the business side of the deal saying; “It’ll get fans to a baseball game with a football jersey on.”
Many who know of the Tebow signing believe that it was all a business deal to help the Mets bring in more money. Sandy Alderson, the General Manager of the New York Mets, said that the deal “not driven by marketing considerations or anything sort,” and that the decision “was strictly driven by baseball.” If Tebow is invited by the Mets to their Spring Training in February, tickets sales will be expected to rise because the Mets play their Spring Training games in Florida, the same state where Tebow cemented his legacy as a college football legend.