Outfielder Tim Tebow will be assigned to the Mets Low-A affiliate Columbia Fireflies in South Carolina to start the 2017 season.
“Sending him to a full season club is what we hoped to be able to do,” Alderson told Newsday on Monday. “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.”
Alderson had a lot of nice things to say about Tebow who has hit .200 (4-for-20) this spring.
“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.”
The Mets have said many times this spring that Tebow was done appearing in Major League spring training games, however those statements were often followed up by his appearance in a Major League spring training game. The organization has been steadfast in their position that in order for him to get better, he must appear in as many games as possible.
He will start the year with the Columbia Fireflies, a team with 140 games on their schedule. Alderson was asked (for I’m sure the thousandth time) if this was anything more than a publicity stunt and was worth taking a spot away from a younger minor league player. His response was straightforward:
“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 probably see time in both left and right field, but with his plus speed I wouldn’t be surprised to see him logging some innings in center field once he gets better at tracking fly balls. He has showed promise getting hits off Major League pitchers, certainly no small feat, as well as brought leadership to the clubhouses he’s been a part of. Yell at me in the comments or on Twitter (@LBarer32) if you want, but I’m rooting for him!