WASHINGTON -- As the Braves have continued to evaluate the possibility of signing Tim Tebow to a Minor League contract, they have remained interested primarily because they do not see an obvious risk. The financial commitment would be insignificant, and the former NFL quarterback would simply fill a need for Double-A Mississippi while serving as a non-roster player.
"Whatever Tim decides, the fact that he wants to play baseball is good for the game," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "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."
If the Braves were to sign Tebow, they would provide a signing bonus of less than $100,000 and attempt to get him the reps he needs in the instructional league, which begins Sept. 17. The 29-year-old former NFL quarterback's progress would then determine whether he would play in a Winter League.
Tebow would not receive a non-roster invite to the Braves' Major League Spring Training next year, and he would be targeted to begin the 2017 season as Mississippi's right fielder. He would not be blocking the progress of a prospect because Braxton Davidson will likely begin next season back with Class A Advanced Carolina.
"There's no risk," Coppolella said. "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."
Tebow will certainly continue to draw great interest as he attempts to beat the tremendous odds as he attempts to enter the professional baseball world more than a decade after he last played the sport as a junior in high school. His marketability could certainly improve attendance figures and merchandise sales, especially if he plays for a Minor League affiliate located in the southeast, where he has drawn fanfare dating back to his days as a Heisman Trophy quarterback who helped the University of Florida win two national titles.
But the Braves insist their pursuit is not simply a marketing ploy. Their interest increased after their top two scouts -- Brian Bridges and Roy Clark -- attended Tebow's showcase last week.
Tebow is obviously raw in many areas, especially on the defensive end, but he generated some interest via his speed and the power potential he showed with a swing that has been likened to Travis Hafner's. He swung and missed on just one of the fastballs thrown by former big leaguers David Aardsma and Chad Smith during a simulated game.
"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."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.