Still, Alderson was intrigued by the novelty of Tebow. And the Mets ultimately announced the signing of the former Jets and Broncos quarterback to a minor league contract on Thursday. He will participate in the organization’s fall instructional league in Port St. Lucie, Florida, which runs Sept. 18 to Oct. 8.
Whether the 29-year-old Tebow, now an outfielder, reaches the big league club probably is immaterial to the organization. The opportunity alone for the Mets to plaster their brand everywhere as Tebow generates national attention for his baseball pursuit will be worthwhile to the team. And let’s just say the Mets should see a nice boost in attendance at their spring training facility as well if Tebow ultimately is assigned to a minor league affiliate the Mets own, such as the Class A Florida State League club based in Port St. Lucie.
Steering Tebow toward the Mets is logical for his representatives at Creative Artists Agency, as well. CAA also represents Mets aces Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, and had a hand in negotiating Yoenis Cespedes' contract with the Mets. So there should be benefits for all of their Mets clients in terms of exposure.
How long are the odds Tebow ever plays at Citi Field? Pretty long, although it is not impossible if he is dedicated and applies himself for multiple seasons, given his athleticism. Michael Jordan, in his lone season with the Chicago White Sox, hit .202 with three homers and 51 RBIs in 436 at-bats with Double-A Birmingham. Would he have received a cup of coffee in the majors had he not returned to the NBA?
Last spring training, Cespedes’ daily cavalcade of cars and a horseback entry created a stir that ultimately prompted manager Terry Collins to say it’s time to put the showmanship aside and have the focus entirely on baseball. If there’s a downside to Tebow's being around in camp, it would be all the media attention and whether that starts to detract from the team’s focus as it prepares for the season. Alderson did say there is no guarantee Tebow receives a spring-training invite to big-league camp.
The Mets did go the pure showman route back in 2000, when they invited entertainer Garth Brooks to Mets camp. He went 0-for-17 in what was deemed mostly a charitable endeavor. The Tebow signing is more of a hybrid -- some baseball legitimacy with a lot of upside benefit based on the novelty.
For whatever it’s worth, Alderson insisted the signing was made on baseball merits.
"While I and the organization, I think, are mindful of the novel nature of this situation, this decision was strictly driven by baseball," Alderson said. "This was not something that was driven by marketing considerations or anything of the sort. We are extremely intrigued with the potential that Tim has. He has demonstrated over his athletic career that he is a tremendous athlete, has got character, a competitive spirit. Aside from the age (29), this is a classic player-development opportunity for us. As an organization, we're going to provide that development opportunity for Tim."