The Mets were off Tuesday. They resume play today with two split quad games.
In West Palm, Robert Gsellman and select members of the roster will face the Astros at 1:05 pm ET. Meanwhile at FirstData Field in St. Lucie, Noah Syndergaard and the rest of the roster will host the Red Sox at 1:10 pm ET.
The team announced earlier this week that Tim Tebow will be borrowed from minor-league camp and start as the designated hitter against the Red Sox >> The game will air LIVE on SNY.
"I just want to be able to continue the process, enjoy the process, enjoy every day, get to know my teammates and have fun out there," Tebow said in a talk with reporters in February, which you can listen to here...
Jose Reyes, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Brandon Nimmo and 10 others have temporarily left Mets camp to take part in the World Baseball Classic. As a result, the team will use minor leaguers not invited to camp, such as Tebow, to fill in during Grapefruit League games until players begin returning from the international tournament.
Tebow signed a $100,000 contract with the Mets toward the end of 2016. He soon after took part in the organization's September instructional camp in St. Lucie, after which he hit .194 with no home runs and 20 strikeouts in 19 games during the Arizona Fall League.
After watching his performance in Arizona, MLB scouts told MetsBlog that Tebow currently lacks most necessary skills needed to be a big-league player and -- at 29 years old -- it's hard to imagine how he makes up for lost time.
Feb 27, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets player Tim Tebow (center) takes a breather after going through running drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Prior to joining the Mets, Tebow hadn't played baseball since his junior year of high school in 2005. The Angels expressed interest in drafting him, but Tebow dropped baseball his senior year to focus entirely on football. He went on to win the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida and was a first-round pick by the Broncos during the NFL's 2010 Draft. He later spent time in the NFL with the Patriots and Eagles before leaving for a broadcast career after playing for the Jets in 2012.
"I think Tim Tebow should stick to announcing," ESPN analyst and former MLB scout Keith Law said on a conference call toward the end of 2016. "He was the worst player I've ever seen in the 10 years I've been going to the Arizona Fall League"
It's going to feel like a charade. But, oh man, can you imagine if Tebow gets a few hits and actually looks like a ballplayer? If that happens, how long until we read and see reaction from fans and media demanding he be invited to big-league camp and try out at third base? In reality, he'll likely struggle, especially since he'll be facing last year's American League Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello, who -- you know -- is not going to take it easy on him.
By the way, I don't actually think this is a charade. I think it's sort of legit...
Feb 27, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets player Tim Tebow is seen leaving on a golf cart after address members of the media during a press conference at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
I understand Sandy Alderson said signing Tebow was about baseball, not marketing. To me, this is a half truth, because I still believe giving him a $100,000 contract and inviting him to spring training was probably a goodwill gesture to baseball, and -- more importantly -- Tebow's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, who also represents Yoenis Cespedes, who the Mets re-signed to a $100,000,000 contract a few months after signing Tebow...
Don't misunderstand, I'm not a Tebow-hater. I appreciate his outlook on life. I'm also not playing conspiracy theorist. I just think his baseball experiment is well-timed, since it likely helped him sell a few books, plus it likely helped the Mets, who did his agent a favor in advance of negotiations with Cespedes...
That said, I'm convinced the organization is now glad he's in St. Lucie and about to play in a game, because they believe his overall positivity about life and his commitment to winning can be a terrific message for their top minor leaguers -- with whom he's spending most of his time in camp.
He's also likely to start this season playing games in Florida and South Carolina, which is an area of the country that still adores him and will likely pay consistent money just to be in the same room with him, let alone watch him try to play baseball. So, in that sense, his presence is also a nice gesture to the organization's minor-league affiliates...
Feb 27, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets player Tim Tebow address members of the media during a press conference at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
It's also worth noting that -- after talking with several big league players about him -- I learned that most everyone in the clubhouse is at least eager to pick his brain about fitness, being an underdog, success, focus, and other skills they admire about him and his career.
In the end, my hunch has always been that by having Tebow play in the Arizona Fall League, which is usually reserved for top prospects, the Mets hoped he would be so bad it would give them cover to either release him or force him to quit. However, while he performed poorly enough to be ripped by off-field experts, he did good enough to necessitate bringing him to minor-league camp. And so, the Tebow Experiment continues... today... in a big-league game.... which we can watch in all its glory on SNY at 1 pm ET.