By: Mike Axlsa | CBS Sports
January 18, 2019
Spring training is less than four weeks away and everyone's favorite quarterback-turned-outfielder will return to big league camp with the New York Mets. The Mets announced their 2019 non-roster invitees Thursday afternoon and Tim Tebow made the cut.
Here is the club's non-roster announcement:
All 40-man roster players will be in big league camp automatically. Tebow is not on the 40-man roster and thus had to be invited by the Mets. He and first base prospect Peter Alonso, another former Florida Gator, headline the club's non-roster list.
Tebow, now 31, is entering this third full minor league season. He hit a very respectable .273/.336/.399 with six home runs in 84 Double-A games last season before suffering a season-ending broken hand in July. Tebow is a career .244/.319/.367 hitter in 210 minor league games, which isn't bad for someone who spent more than a decade away from the game.
This will be Tebow's second big league camp. The team brought him to spring training as a non-roster player in 2018 but not 2017. Tebow, who recently got engaged, appeared in seven Grapefruit League games last spring being being reassigned to minor league camp. He went 1 for 18 at the plate with 11 strikeouts but drew loud ovations each time he stepped to the plate.
Earlier this offseason new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, Tebow's former agent, said Tebow would begin the season in Triple-A and could play in MLB at some point. Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News passed along word in December:
"Brodie Van Wagenen announced on WFAN Wednesday that his former client and the Mets most famous minor leaguer, Tim Tebow, will begin the season in Triple-A Syracuse.
"If Tim Tebow is the best offensive player in Triple-A at that point, he's going to be in Mickey's lineup," Van Wagenen said referring to Mets manager Mickey Callaway."
Because he was older than 19 when he signed his first baseball contract and this will be his third full minor league season, Tebow will be Rule 5 Draft eligible next winter. That means the Mets must either put him on their 40-man roster, or leave him exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, at which point another team could select him and put him on its MLB roster.
It's too early to know whether the Mets will commit a 40-man roster spot to Tebow -- there is an entire season that has to be played out first -- but it sounds like Van Wagenen and the Mets won't hesitate to bring him to the big leagues if he's their best option. Folks, we are closer to Tebow playing in MLB than ever before.