The scouting reports for Tim Tebow were harsh after the minor leaguer’s initial baseball showcase, but the New York Mets signed him anyway, claiming it was “a baseball decision.” But now, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is telling the real story.
While it wasn’t exactly a secret the Mets signed Tebow to put behinds in the seats, Alderson freely admitted that Friday at a panel at the annual SABR convention.
“Look, we signed him because he is a good guy, partly because of his celebrity, partly because this is an entertainment business,” Alderson said, per Newsday. “My attitude is ‘Why not?’”
Not only was the Mets’decision driven by non-baseball reasons, but Alderson also revealed the club goes out of its way to make that point clear in the 29-year-old outfielder’s prospect profile.
“The guy we sent to see him in California did not exactly send back a glowing report,” Alderson said. “I knew immediately he would not want his name as the signing scout. Ultimately, the guy that we put down was the director of merchandising.”
While it is nice to hear the Mets admit the Tebow signing was exactly what everyone thought it was, it should be interesting to see if other minor leaguers have anything to say about the matter. Because while Major League Baseball elicits thoughts of huge salaries, that’s not the case for the rest of the guys in the system. In fact, there’s a lawsuit against the league over minor league pay, and it was revealed in a 2014 Sports Illustrated report that most minor leaguers make less than minimum wage with salaries hovering around the poverty line in many cases.
Tebow’s recent promotion from low-Class A ball to high-Class A likely will exacerbate those feelings for many minor leaguers, but Alderson thinks the former NFL quarterback’s presence is good for the game.
“I actually think it’s been great for baseball,” Alderson said. “It’s been unbelievable for the South Atlantic League in terms of interest and entertainment. We’ll see how far he goes.”
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images