Before each season, the Mets publish a media guide, an extensive accounting of the club’s history, records and personnel. It includes bios of notable minor- league players with the greatest potential to make organizational news. So this year one had to be written about Tim Tebow.
Each player bio includes the name of the scout who signed that player, and that presented a problem for the authors. So they asked general manager Sandy Alderson if they should list him as the signing scout.
Tebow held a showcase that most teams sent scouts to last September. The Mets signed him the following week. However, Alderson said, “The guy we sent to see him in California did not exactly send back a glowing report. I knew immediately he would not want his name as the signing scout.
“Ultimately,’’ he added, “the guy that we put down was the director of merchandising.”
Alderson shared what he called “an inside joke” while participating in a panel at Citi Field for the 47th annual SABR convention Friday. The 500-plus attendees roared with laughter.
When Tebow was signed, Alderson called it “a baseball decision,” but he now is giving a bigger-picture explanation. After saying that every report on Tebow indicates he is a “gold-standard individual,” he added, “Look, we signed him because he is a good guy, partly because of his celebrity, partly because this is an entertainment business. My attitude is ‘why not?’ ”
The subject of Tebow came up with regard to his promotion from low Class A Columbia to high Class A St. Lucie despite a .220/.311/.336 slash line and three home runs in 64 games. When Alderson announced the promotion, he cited chase rates and exit velocity as indicators that he was ready. He was asked about the use of exit velocity.
“I was searching a little bit for some rational explanation for promoting him,” he said. “Actually, if you look at some of the more esoteric statistics, he actually does pretty well: He doesn’t really chase [pitches outside the strike zone]. Some of the fundamental things you are looking for in your player, aside from athleticism and so forth. He has command of the strike zone, power — those are things he can do.”
Tebow did well in his first three games for St. Lucie, going 5-for-9 with a home run, two RBIs and two walks with only one strikeout.
Alderson knows that the subject of Tebow gets eye rolls from baseball purists. Still, he said he’s glad the Mets signed him.
“I actually think it’s been great for baseball. It’s been unbelievable for the South Atlantic League in terms of interest and entertainment,” Alderson said. “We’ll see how far he goes.”