Tim Tebow’s other employer couldn’t resist throwing a jab his way in covering the New York Mets’ decision to select Tebow for their 2020 spring training roster.

Some background: Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner-turned-NFL-star-turned Mets prospect, is set to start his fourth season of professional baseball this year.

On Thursday, the Mets announced their non-roster spring training invitees, which included a number of mid- to high-level prospects.

For Tebow, it’s the fourth straight season he’s made the spring training roster.

Now, when he’s not playing baseball, the former Florida Gator, widely regarded as one of the greatest college football players of all time, works as an analyst for the SEC Network, which is owned by ESPN.

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And in its news article covering Tebow’s invite to spring training, ESPN couldn’t resist taking a shot at him.

“Tebow, who works for the SEC Network as a football analyst during his baseball offseason, isn’t a legitimate prospect, given his age and lack of production,” ESPN senior writer David Schoenfield wrote.

“The Mets have received criticism in the past for giving Tebow playing time in the minors over other players who might actually help the Mets in the future,” the report said.

It is true that Tebow, 32, is far from a traditional top prospect. (When SNY compiled its list of top 20 Mets prospects for the 2020 season, Tebow didn’t make it.)

And it’s true that he did not play well in 2019, hitting just .163 with four home runs and 19 RBIs while appearing in 77 games for the Triple-A-level Syracuse Mets.

But it’s also true that Tebow didn’t play after late July due to a cut he suffered on his hand.

And while he struggled for much of the season prior to sustaining that injury, he had been heating up at the plate in July, at one point blasting three home runs in a span of six games.

It was also Tebow’s first season at the Triple-A level, so it was understandable that there would be a learning curve.

But in 2018, playing for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Tebow hit a solid .273 and was named an Eastern League All-Star.

All this to say that while Tebow might not be one of the Mets’ top prospects, he’s certainly done enough to be given the chance to succeed, which is exactly what the Mets are doing by inviting him to spring training.

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has essentially said as much.

“[He’s] one step away” from the majors, Van Wagenen said in January 2019, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

The point is, there are legitimate baseball reasons for the Mets to invite Tebow to spring training.

Combine these things with the fact that he is a great role model for younger players and that having him in Port St. Lucie with the rest of the big-league club will surely drive up fan interest in spring training, and the Mets’ decision makes complete sense.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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