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Tim Tebow to Be Assigned to Low-A Columbia by Mets

New York Mets left fielder Tim Tebow is shown during batting practice before a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2017

The New York Mets are sending aspiring baseball player Tim Tebow to their low Class-A affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies, this season, according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

"Sending him to a full season club is what we hoped to be able to do," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Carig. "And based on what he’s done in spring training, and his whole body of work since last fall, we feel comfortable with him going to Columbia."

Tebow, 29, has hit .235 in spring training, and as Carig noted, the Mets always planned on getting him as many games as possible this season. Class-A will offer that opportunity. While he's a major long shot to ever play in the Major Leagues, Alderson has seen positives from the former NFL quarterback:

He’s obviously very athletic and he has adapted very quickly. His approach at the plate is very solid. He doesn’t chase pitches. People might say his swing is a little long but the swing is professional. When he’s made contact, it’s often been hard contact... Defensively, it’s still a work in progress but it’s adequate. He’s made some nice plays, again demonstrating the athleticism that everybody’s seen he has.

Still, some have questioned whether the Mets are simply engaging in a publicity stunt with Tebow to drum up interest for the team in spring training, one that perhaps takes a roster spot from a more deserving candidate. 

Alderson bristled at such a suggestion, however:

That’s such a bogus argument. We’ve got lots of room for lots of players at lots of different levels. The fact that he’s starting at Columbia, he’s really not taking anybody’s spot. By the way, we have lots of players in our organization who are just that: organizational players. Not every player that we have is a top prospect, whose opportunity is being curtailed by Tim Tebow or anybody else.

Tebow will have the chance to prove his worth with the Fireflies this season. He'll be an everyday player either as a right fielder or left fielder. But if he doesn't improve upon his poor performance from the Arizona Fall League—he hit .194 with three doubles and 20 strikeouts in 62 at-bats—it's hard to imagine Tebow getting another shot at any level with the Mets.

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