Online sportsbook 5Dimes is dangling a line of +250 Tim Tebow will make a MLB plate appearance in 2019. The line against is -350. Chances are slim it will happen, given Tebow’s age, talent, and pending change of guard in the Mets front office, but he’s proven adept at defying the odds in the past.
Overcoming the Odds
When the Mets signed the 30-year old former Heisman Trophy winner to a minor-league contract in 2016, most derided it as a publicity stunt, a joke, and a likely distraction. The ex-Florida Gator quarterback, who hadn’t played baseball since 2004 during high school, came legitimately close to earning a big-league plate appearance in 2018. A broken hamate bone in his right hand sustained in late July, and subsequent surgery, forced Tebow to hang up his cleats for the rest of the season. Batting .273 with a .336 OBP at Class AA Binghamton (N.Y.) arguably the most competitive of the lower leagues, Tebow played his way into the Eastern League All-Star game. Of course, he roped a double in that event.
Tebow has made a career at overcoming the odds. Online sportsbook Bovada posted a preseason line of +600 in March he would make the majors in 2018, implying a 14.3-percent chance. Most serious bettors wrote off the prospect, particularly at such a short price, as the number appeared to be in response to media attention and general manager Sandy Alderson’s praise of Tebow during the exhibition period. “I think he will play in the Major Leagues,” remarked the longtime executive at the time.
An impressive season at the plate in Double-A, coupled with a lousy Mets season, made the prospect a likely reality. New York was 40-55 SU on July 20, the night of Tebow’s injury. Odds at Bovada had sunk to as low as +160 headed into the MLB All-Star break, implying a 38.5 percent chance of a September call-up.
Tebow will report to his third spring training next February. At 31-years old, the window for reaching the bigs is closing. The reality is the new front office will likely move on from the novel idea. Alderson is retiring at the end of the season due to health issues, and new organizational heads will need to dice the team up and rebuild with a bevy of youth. Jersey sales and media attention are not worth stunting a young prospect’s growth.
Besides, the telegenic Tebow is a home run as an analyst and media producer, even dipping into movie-making business recently with the “Run for the Race.” One more injury or career hiccup, like a 0-for-30 streak at the plate, will likely see Tebow angling for retirement sooner rather than later. Pocket that money and avoid this silly prop bet.