NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Tim Tebow will likely be assigned to Mets minor-league camp during spring training, though he could make occasional appearances in big-league spring training games, general manager Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday.
“We understand that he’s a little bit older and the process needs to accelerate at some point,” Alderson said. “But we still need to be prudent about putting him in situations where he can succeed and not be viewed as, I want to say a circus animal, but that’s probably not appropriate.”
Alderson said there would be little point in assigning Tebow to big-league camp, “except for advertising purposes.” Instead, the Mets have emphasized getting the 29-year-old former quarterback as much playing time as possible, which would come in minor-league camp.
However, it’s not uncommon for the major-league team to have minor-leaguers come over to play in Grapefruit League games, a possibility that manager Terry Collins intends to push. It wasn’t lost upon the manager that Tebow’s stardom as a quarterback came in the same state as the team’s spring training home.
“Yeah, why not?” Collins said. “I will tell you if he’s not in our camp, I’ll get him over. I think he’s a name in Florida. He’s a star in Florida. He should be. I think it would be fun to have Tim come over.”
Tebow hit just .194 in 70 plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League, his first action as a baseball player since high school.
“All things considered, he did a nice job,” Alderson said. “We knew he’d be overmatched in the Arizona Fall League, but we also felt he needed to play games.”
Both Collins and Alderson said Tebow drew high marks for his influence on the clubhouse, another attractive factor behind having him potentially appear in big-league games.
As for the distraction, Collins swatted away any of those concerns.
“We’re in New York,” Collins said. “We can handle anybody with a name on his back in our camp. If they decide to send him to camp, we’ll get him better. I can tell you, I certainly hope you will see Tim Tebow in some of our games.”