Lost in the mass hysteria of NFL free agency on Tuesday was the announcement by the New York Mets was that Tim Tebow has been cut from the team’s major league roster in Spring Training. Tebow will be part of the team’s minor league camp.
It may have been a strategic move by the Mets, where the NFL has once again taken center stage with the start of the 2018 season beginning at 4 pm on Wednesday and the news of impending signings across the league becoming the biggest thing to happen since the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl 52.
Tebow, the uber-popular athlete, is in his second season as a minor league player with the Mets. Last season he played in Columbia, SC and St. Lucie, Florida. Team general manager Sandy Alderson said less than a month ago he believed Tebow would play in the Majors at some point in his career.
Per the Washington Post, “Tebow’s quest to make an unlikely transition from professional football to professional baseball took a hit, mostly because of his inability to hit Grapefruit League pitching. The former Broncos and Jets player went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts Tuesday against the Astros, leaving him with just one hit in 18 at-bats, plus 11 strikeouts, to start the spring.”
Befitting his relentlessly upbeat nature, Tim Tebow took the demotion in stride. “It’s not like it’s a shock,” he said (via Newsday). “They were super honest the whole time. We have great relationships and conversations. It’s not like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ So it’s all good.”
It was also announced that Tebow has been dealing with an ankle injury he suffered after stepping on an outfield sprinkler head in late February. The injury has kept him out of the lineup for the Mets, who begin the 2018 season under new skipper Mickey Callaway.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to with my ankle, which is disappointing,” the 30-year-old said. “But I got to put in a lot of good work and feel like I’m improving, so that’s good.”
In February, Alderson met with the media to discuss the organization and was asked about Tebow for the first time. The former Heisman Trophy winner and New York Jets quarterback failed in his stint in the NFL in the Big Apple and became an ESPN college football analyst before giving baseball a try.
“Somebody asked me whether I think he’ll be a major league player at some point,” Alderson said after a Sunday workout at First Data Field. “I think he will play in the major leagues. That’s my guess. That’s my hope, and to some extent now after a year and a half, a modest expectation.”
Tebow’s new sport has been profitable for minor league baseball as he has helped draw large crowds in the various cities the Mets teams have traveled. While his popularity is still great, his work at the plate still needs improvement.
In 126 games split nearly evenly between the Mets’ low-A affiliate in Columbia, S.C., and their high-A affiliate in St. Lucie, Fla., Tim Tebow batted .226 with eight home runs, 52 RBI, 43 walks and a .656 OPS. That suggested he had plenty of work to do to reach the majors, but given his age, the Mets want to try to hasten his development, and he is expected to start this season at the AA level.