Tim Tebow Rumors: Former Quarterback Could Sign With Atlanta Braves, But It May Just Be A Publicity Ploy
Tim Tebow is rumored to be starting his baseball career with the Atlanta Braves, though there is some question as to whether the team’s plan to sign the Heisman Trophy winner to a minor league contract is a legitimate baseball move or just a ploy for publicity.
The 29-year-old Tebow announced this summer his plans to move into baseball, holding an open workout last week in Los Angeles that drew an audience of 29 MLB teams. The workout for Tebow — a former standout baseball player in Florida — has drawn particular attention from the Braves, USA Today reported.
The team’s general manager told the news outlet that they are considering giving Tebow a contract.
“If we sign him,” said general manager John Coppolella said, “its because we think he has a chance to help us at some point.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 3, 2016
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) September 3, 2016
Tebow is actually already earning money from his shift to baseball, Fox Sports radio host Steve Gorman noted. He found that Tebow is selling autographed baseball memorabilia on his website — including $125 for a signed baseball and $175 for a signed bat.
And as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted, there is quite a bit of PR flash to Tebow’s decision to play baseball, calling into question how legitimate the plans really might be.
“In the aftermath of the initial flurry of ‘news’ came the perfunctory, meaningless, publicity-seeking offers from minor league teams, one of which was passed along by Schefter on Twitter without mention of the obvious reality that this is the kind of crap minor-league teams always pull. After that, plenty of videos on ESPN.com have emerged regarding Tebow’s new endeavor, including one showing him repeatedly hitting a ball with a bat (but none actually showing where the ball goes).”
But when it comes to actually making a baseball roster, Tebow is seen as quite a project at this point. He is more than two years removed from playing any professional sports, as his time in the NFL fizzled to an end after stints with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. Subsequent chances with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles both ended with Tebow being cut from the roster before the season started.
The former Broncos starting quarterback showed some potential in his baseball workout, USA Today noted, but also struggled against live pitching and showed below-average arm strength.
But as USA Today noted, a minor league contract for Tim Tebow could still be a boon to the Atlanta Braves, a team with a farm system scattered across the south, where Tebow remains very popular.
“The parent club is located in the heart of Southeastern Conference country, less than a five-hour drive from where Tebow played his college football at the University of Florida.
“What’s more, the club’s minor league affiliates are sprinkled throughout SEC country — where Tebow remains a popular figure as an analyst for the ESPN-owned state network of Southern football.”
With the Braves system situated as it is, Tebow could rise through the lowest ranks of the minor leagues in ballparks exclusively in the south, the report noted. That could give the Atlanta Braves a publicity boost without any real effect on the system or the development of its other young prospects.
The report added that the Braves are opening new SunTrust Park next season and have invested a total of $500 million to build up stadiums throughout the farm system. If Tim Tebow were to eventually play his way up to the big league roster, it would likely bring an attendance boost for a team still a few years away from real playoff contention.
[Photo by Chris Carlson/AP Images]