Posted on September 7, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
After reports surfaced over the weekend that multiple teams, including the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies, had interest in signing former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, Braves GM John Coppolella confirmed on Tuesday that the team has interest in signing for the former Heisman Trophy winner who is now attempting a career in professional baseball.
The Braves were one of several teams to speak directly with Tebow following his baseball showcase last month. Coppolella has says the team has had “multiple” conversations with Tebow about signing. Not only do the Braves have some interest in signing Tebow, but they also have a plan in place for him. Tebow would not receive an invitation to big league spring training, although he would likely begin the 2017 season with Atlanta’s double-A affiliate.
In double-A, Tebow would likely play every day in right field, despite most scouts being underwhelmed by the arm of the former quarterback at his showcase. By starting the 2017 season in double-A, Tebow would not take any reps away from two of Atlanta’s top outfield prospects, Ronald Acuna and Braxton Davidson, both of whom figure to begin the 2017 season at advanced-A ball.
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Coppolella also says that Atlanta’s interest in Tebow is genuine and for the right reasons. “We are interested in Tim because of his potential as a baseball player, not as a gate attraction,” Coppolella said. “We have spoken with his representatives multiple times and all parties involved want this to be a pure baseball thing on every level.”
Atlanta’s GM explains that two of the team’s best scouts, Brian Bridges and Roy Clark, attended Tebow’s showcase and saw potential in him, as Tebow flashed a lot of raw power and good speed during his public workout last month. “Our interest in Tim Tebow is predicated in our belief in Brian Bridges and Roy Clark,” Coppolella said. “They went to see Tim more in the spirit of ‘Leave no stone unturned,’ and they liked what they saw. They thought he has the upside potential to help us. That is why we’re exploring the possibility of bringing him into the Braves organization.”
Coppolella also says that whether Tebow signs with the Braves or not, the fact that he’s attempting a baseball career is good for the game. “It’s similar to when Michael Jordan or others have wanted to play. It’s positive to draw this kind of interest to the game and make it a story because it’s good for baseball,” Coppolella said. Of course, the Braves are no stranger to multi-sport athletes, as both Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan played with the Braves in addition to playing in the NFL.
Finally, Coppolella calls the Braves potential signing of Tebow as a “no risk” move. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll be honest with Tim early, and we can move on. If it does work, it’s great for the Braves and it’s great for baseball,” he said.
The Braves begin their instructional league on September 17. If Tebow signs with Atlanta, he’s likely to be there so the team can evaluate him and determine whether he should play winter ball or not. So if Tebow wants to sign with the Braves, something could potentially happen within the next week.