SAN FRANCISCO — Just before sharing a tidbit of information with reporters, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson noted that it wasn’t “front-page news.’’
Perhaps, but just about everything involving Tim Tebow is worthy of a headline.
The former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback will be promoted from low-Class A Columbia (S.C.) to high-A Port St. Lucie (Fla.) starting Tuesday, Alderson said.
Going into his final game with the Fireflies on Sunday, Tebow was batting .222 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He had 69 strikeouts in 212 at-bats and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .651.
“His on-base (percentage), isolated power, swing, exit velocity, a lot of different things have been much better in the last 15 games," Alderson said. “On the other hand, we recognize this is not the normal, usual circumstance, but we just felt that given everything involved, this was about the right time for him to move up to high A.’’
In baseball terms, the promotion is not a huge step forward, especially for a 29-year-old outfielder trying to make the improbable leap from the broadcasting booth – Tebow remains a college football commentator – to the major leagues.
Alderson said Tebow’s OPS at home has been almost twice as high as on the road, although he didn’t know what to make of that.
Tebow did spend time at the club’s spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, so the locale will be familiar, and he returns to the state where he’s still idolized for his football feats at the University of Florida.
Though Alderson would not address what he sees as Tebow’s ceiling, it’s obvious reaching the major leagues remains a longshot, even if the fourth-place Mets start trading veterans ahead of the deadline, as expected.
“We’re pleased with the first half of the season," Alderson said. “It’s not like he’s tearing up the league, but at the same time, all the indications are positive in terms of various things we look at, chase rate, exit velocity, a host of other things. The average isn’t there, but he’s improving."