Before we see Tim Tebow on a baseball diamond, let’s assume that for a team signing Tebow, it would be a marketing play. He would, without a doubt, be the biggest name in minor league baseball since one Michael Jordan was barnstorming with the White Sox’s Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons. With that in mind, here are the top five teams we’re guessing would be interested on business alone:
1. Miami Marlins: Although they struggle with game attendance, the Marlins love buzz and they aren’t scared to make it (see: bringing back Barry Bonds as a hitting instructor). Plus, they’re in Florida, which significantly increases Tebow’s value. If there’s money to be made off Tebow here, the Marlins can cash in more than anyone. Why? Because it’s not obvious that Tebow can get to the big leagues, so the money opportunity comes at the lower levels. They have spring training in Florida and their high-Class A minor league team is in Jupiter and their Double-A team in Jacksonville, where Tebow played his high school ball.
2. Colorado Rockies: Although Peyton Manning came in and led the Broncos to the Super Bowl, there’s still plenty of love for Tim Tebow in Colorado, the only place in his NFL career where he made some impact. Also, they have a Class A team in Asheville, North Carolina, smack dab in the heart of SEC country.
3. Atlanta Braves: With the focus on the immediate money, we put the Braves in the third position. Why? It’s 100 miles between Gainesville, Florida, and Lake Buena Vista, where the Braves have spring training at the Disney complex. As far as the most diverse demographic for a player who draws the “Good Morning America” viewers, this is it. Keep in mind, spring training is pretty much the only time the team is guaranteed to make money from Tebow.
4. San Diego Padres: The Padres are a dark horse here. This is solely based on their decision to draft Johnny Manziel in the 28th round of the 2014. After the Padres did it, they custom-made Manziel jerseys and started selling them in their team store despite the fact that they weren’t allowed to because Manziel never signed. They eventually pulled the jerseys, but it showed that they were interested in the merchandising play. The Padres, like all teams, would make money on selling Tebow jerseys that didn’t have to be shared with the league only if they sold them at Petco Park or at official team stores, but with the way things are going in San Diego, that move alone could pay for Tebow and add some much-needed excitement around the team.
5. Tampa Bay Rays: After six consecutive winning seasons and a trip to the World Series, the Rays are now headed for their third straight losing campaign. There’s the Florida play, and there’s no such thing as a distraction at this point.