Why The Clock Is Running Out On Tim Tebow

Julio CortezAP Images

Tim Tebow has proved that his time spent in the minors isn’t just a punchline or publicity gimmick. Tebow has worked hard, he’s honing his skills, and he even made it to the Eastern League All-Star Game. He earned that position. His on-field numbers showed that he belonged. Some even argue that he should be moved up to AAA within a couple weeks and be on the Met’s roster by year end. If that happened, it would be a Cinderella story for him, but he better do it now and not sometime down the road, because time is running out.

It’s taken Tebow a couple of seasons in the minors to finally get it going. It was expected the transition would be rough and take time. If John Elway didn’t pan out in the NFL and went back to the Yankees’ farm system after a few years off, it would have taken him time to adjust again too probably. What is important for Tebow is that everyone agrees he is improving, maybe just not fast enough to achieve his goals.

The facts are that the Met’s organization regards his progress as good. Assistant GM John Ricco said as much in an interview with USA Today. As good as that is, Ricco didn’t feel it was good enough to warrant the jump to AAA now, or likely this season, much less a spot on the Met’s roster. Ricco pointed out that Tebow has opened eyes, but it takes more than opening eyes to advance, especially at Tebow’s age.

Eastern Division's Tim Tebow watches his double off Western Division's Beau Burrows during the second inning of the Eastern League All-Star minor league baseball game Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Featured image credit: Julio CortezAP

What Tebow is working against is time. He is on the same team as guys a decade his junior that can potentially provide far more return on investment than he can. A younger player with similar numbers, maybe even slightly worse numbers, is going to advance faster because unlike Tebow, they have more time to work the kinks out and improve. Younger players advancing through the minor league system are more valuable trading chips. There just isn’t much of a market for 30-year-old ballplayers sitting in AA.

There have been players that made their debut a few years older than Tebow is now. It isn’t unheard of, it just isn’t common. Scouts are pegging Tebow at being as much as three to four years away from a potential MLB debut, which no matter how positive of a thinker you are, is a bit of a long-shot. That means continuous improvement, good health, and no significant injuries. The Mets internal report on him, summarized at Fansided, has Tebow pegged as inconsistent at the plate, with no speed. Defensively, he is considered neutral at best, and even though he was an NFL quarterback, his arm is rated as below average.

The current analysis on Tebow is that he is a mid-level minor league depth player, and at best might be a serviceable fifth outfielder at the major league level eventually. However, he has loyal fans and puts meat in the seats, so if the Mets find them self in a position to write off the remainder of a season and attendance is down, he might find his way to the roster. That is why Tebow needs to improve rapidly starting right now. Tebow isn’t the kind of guy who wants to make it to the bigs as a gimmick, he wants to earn it.

Whatever happens, or whatever anyone thinks about his chances of making it to the show, Tebow is maintaining a positive outlook and believes in himself, and no one can take that away from him.

“I think for me, I can’t worry about any of that, I have to stay focused on the process and not the maybes, not the hypothetical and not the what ifs. I don’t think that’s a place where an athlete can live. I don’t think you can let your mind go into places like that.”