Julio Cortez/Associated Press
In a recent interview with WFAN radio (h/t USA Today’s Jesse Yomtov), new New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Tebow is just “one step away” from the big leagues as he will start the 2019 season with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs.
“If Tim Tebow is the best offensive player in Triple-A at [the time of an injury to a Mets outfielder], he’s going to be in (manager Mickey Callaway’s) lineup,” Van Wagenen acknowledged to WFAN.
Those comments are exactly not ground-breaking by any measure. It was announced last month that Tebow would start next season at Triple-A, and because that is the top level of the minor leagues, there is nowhere else for him to be promoted to except the big leagues.
Of course, he will have to earn his way to the show.
The former Heisman Trophy winner has slowly been working his way up the ladder since signing with the Mets in 2016. He has participated in major-league spring training the past two years, going just 5-for-45 (.111 average) in 16 appearances.
His minor-league career did not get off to a much better start, either, as he hit just .226 between two levels of A-ball in 2017.
The football star-turned-outfielder did, however, begin to silence some of his critics this past season. He hit .273 with six home runs, 14 doubles and 36 RBI in 84 games at Double-A in 2018, earning a spot on the Eastern League All-Star squad as a result.
Unfortunately for Tebow, he was unable to build on his success as he suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand in July, sidelining him for the rest of the year. But given the progress he had shown during the first half of the season, he had shown enough to warrant a bump up in the system.
“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 added, per Newsday’s Tom Healey.
New York has always shown plenty of faith in Tebow since he signed. Former general manager Sandy Alderson made headlines in February by declaring, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, “I think [Tebow] will play in the Major Leagues.”
Last month, Van Wagenen let it be known that he believed in Tebow, according to the Associated Press.
Tebow Watch will be in full force come spring 2019. New York recently cleared up its outfield logjam by trading three-time All-Star Jay Bruce to the Seattle Mariners. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes is expected to miss the start of the season after undergoing heel surgery in July. That means the team’s outfield depth is not what it was this past season, so any future injuries could open the door for a Tebow call-up.
For now, though, Tebow will have to prove he himself is healthy and can handle better pitching at Triple-A.