Celebrity outfielder Tim Tebow is still a Met, and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon talked him up during their appearance on WFAN Wednesday.
“We need him at Syracuse,” said Wilpon, referencing the Mets-owned Triple-A affiliate. “He’s a great person.”
As Van Wagenen put it: "One step away."
Tebow, 31, is indeed slated to open 2019 at Syracuse. Van Wagenen broke down his baseball future in straightforward terms: If the Mets have a need at Tebow’s position, and if Tebow is the highest-performing option at that position, Tebow will be called up to the majors.
“If we somehow suffered an injury and we needed somebody to replace Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto in the starting lineup . . . we’d have to go look to the minor leagues and say, ‘OK, who’s the best guy in the minor leagues right now?’ ” Van Wagenen said. “And if Tim Tebow is the best offensive player in Triple-A at that point in time, he’s going to be in [manager Mickey Callaway’s] lineup.”
In 2018, Tebow had a .273/.336/.399 slash line for Double-A Binghamton, his season ending about a month early due to a broken hand. He had 103 strikeouts, 22 walks, six homers and 36 RBIs in 84 games, an overall better year than the previous one, and at a higher level of competition. It was his second season of pro baseball since the Mets signed him to a minor-league deal in September 2016.
Tebow is represented by the Creative Artists Agency, Van Wagenen’s former employer, and Van Wagenen wasn’t about to rule out further progress from the former Heisman Trophy winner/NFL quarterback/ESPN college football analyst/reality show host.
“No question, the strides he made from when he first signed and the showcase that he had to how much better he’s gotten — at the level of competition he’s had to perform — has been remarkable,” Van Wagenen said.
The ever-charitable Tebow, however, isn’t interested in being on the receiving end of an undeserved promotion.
“As a man, and I know him extremely well, he would never want a charity invite to a major-league roster,” Van Wagenen said. “If Tim is good enough to help us at the major-league level, he’ll play there, but he’s not going to want a courtesy shot at the big leagues.”