A regime change in New York isn’t going to stop Tebowmania. New York Mets new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said he expects Tim Tebow to open the 2019 season in Triple-A, but did not rule out Tebow breaking camp on the opening day roster, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
The 31-year-old Tebow hit .273/.336/.399 in 298 plate appearances at Double-A this season. There was some debate that performance would lead to a call to the majors in 2018, but Tebow suffered a broken hamate bone in July that ended his season.
While those numbers are an upgrade for Tebow, they still leave a lot to be desired. Tebow was able to raise his average, but that was about it. His walk rate dropped slightly, his strikeout rate jumped to 34.6 percent and he still hasn’t broke a .400 slugging percentage — though just barely.
Those numbers would not be worthy of promotion from any other 31-year-old player on the Mets’ roster, but this is Tebow. His name still carries weight and sells tickets. The Mets have promoted him aggressively even when his numbers haven’t stood out.
There was some thought that could change with a regime change, but that’s not going to be the case. At the absolute worst, Tebow will open the season one step away from the majors. If he has a decent spring, he could make the Mets’ final 25-man roster.
Complicating all of this is the fact that Van Wagenen used to represent Tebow. After years of selling Tebow as a future major leaguer, Van Wagenen now determines whether Tebow will make it to the majors. That potential conflict of interest is something the Mets have been trying to avoid since hiring Van Wagenen.
While recovering from his injury, Tebow has continued to appear as an analyst on ESPN. He raised eyebrows Friday after suggesting Maryland should have stood by its decision to keep D.J. Durkin.
Once the college football season is over, Tebow will go back to baseball mode. If he can impress the Mets in the spring, there’s a chance he’ll be too busy playing in the majors to rejoin ESPN next fall.
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