Tim Tebow likely to start 2019 at Triple-A for Mets, but has a shot at opening-day roster

A regime change in New York isn’t going to stop Tebowmania. New York Mets new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said he expects Tim Tebow to open the 2019 season in Triple-A, but did not rule out Tebow breaking camp on the opening day roster, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

The 31-year-old Tebow hit .273/.336/.399 in 298 plate appearances at Double-A this season. There was some debate that performance would lead to a call to the majors in 2018, but Tebow suffered a broken hamate bone in July that ended his season.

While those numbers are an upgrade for Tebow, they still leave a lot to be desired. Tebow was able to raise his average, but that was about it. His walk rate dropped slightly, his strikeout rate jumped to 34.6 percent and he still hasn’t broke a .400 slugging percentage — though just barely.

Those numbers would not be worthy of promotion from any other 31-year-old player on the Mets’ roster, but this is Tebow. His name still carries weight and sells tickets. The Mets have promoted him aggressively even when his numbers haven’t stood out.

See Tebow with the Mets organization: 

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Tim Tebow with the New York Mets
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 21: RY 21: RY 21: RY 21: RY 21: Tim Tebow #83 of the New York Mets poses for a photo during photo days at First Data Field on February 21, 2018 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUG 13: Tim Tebow of the Mets at bat during the Florida State League game between the St. Lucie Mets and the Tampa Yankees on August 13, 2017, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUG 13: A Gators fan is all smiles as he captures a selfie with Tim Tebow of the Mets before the Florida State League game between the St. Lucie Mets and the Tampa Yankees on August 13, 2017, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KISSIMMEE, FL - JUL 21: Tim Tebow of the Mets throws the ball back into the infield during the Florida State League game between the St. Lucie Mets and the Florida Fire Frogs on July 21, 2017, at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KISSIMMEE, FL - JUL 21: Tim Tebow of the Mets makes a catch in centerfield during the Florida State League game between the St. Lucie Mets and the Florida Fire Frogs on July 21, 2017, at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - JUNE 28: St. Lucie Mets Outfielder Tim Tebow (15) laughs with St. Lucie Mets Outfielder John Mora (4) on the field before the start of the second game of a double header MiLB minor league baseball game between the Palm Beach Cardinals and the St. Lucie Mets at the First Data Field in Port St Lucie, Florida on June 28, 2017. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - JUNE 28: St. Lucie Mets Outfielder Tim Tebow (15) smiles as he signs autographs for fans in the stands before the start of the first game of a double header MiLB minor league baseball game between the Palm Beach Cardinals and the St. Lucie Mets on June 28, 2017 at the First Data Field in Port St Lucie, Florida.. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - JUNE 28: St. Lucie Mets Outfielder Tim Tebow (15) laughs with a team mate in the dugout during the second game of a double header MiLB minor league baseball game between the Palm Beach Cardinals and the St. Lucie Mets at the First Data Field in Port St Lucie, Florida on June 28, 2017. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - JUNE 28: St. Lucie Mets Outfielder Tim Tebow (15) smiles before batting during the first game of a double header MiLB minor league baseball game between the Palm Beach Cardinals and the St. Lucie Mets on June 28, 2017 at the First Data Field in Port St Lucie, Florida.. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHARLESTON,SC - JUNE 17: Tim Tebow (15) of the Fireflies at bat during the minor league game between the Columbia Fireflies and the Charleston RiverDogs on June 17, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 20: Tim Tebow #97 of the New York Mets looks on from the dugout during the Spring Training game against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 20, 2017 in Lakeland, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Mets 5-1. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 20: Tim Tebow (97) of the Mets at bat during the spring training game between the New York Mets and the Detroit Tigers on March 20, 2017 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PORT ST LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: New York Mets Designated Hitter Tim Tebow (97) during a MLB spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets at Tradition Field in Port St Lucie, Florida on March 8, 2017. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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There was some thought that could change with a regime change, but that’s not going to be the case. At the absolute worst, Tebow will open the season one step away from the majors. If he has a decent spring, he could make the Mets’ final 25-man roster.

Complicating all of this is the fact that Van Wagenen used to represent Tebow. After years of selling Tebow as a future major leaguer, Van Wagenen now determines whether Tebow will make it to the majors. That potential conflict of interest is something the Mets have been trying to avoid since hiring Van Wagenen.

While recovering from his injury, Tebow has continued to appear as an analyst on ESPN. He raised eyebrows Friday after suggesting Maryland should have stood by its decision to keep D.J. Durkin.

Once the college football season is over, Tebow will go back to baseball mode. If he can impress the Mets in the spring, there’s a chance he’ll be too busy playing in the majors to rejoin ESPN next fall.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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