Tim Tebow signs minor league deal with Mets

Eight days after he worked out in front of 28 major league teams, Tim Tebow will sign a minor league deal with with the New York Mets, the team announced Thursday morning. He will participate in the organization's instructional league this month.

Tebow, 29, has not played baseball since 2004, his junior year of high school in Florida. He opted for football and went on to win two national titles and a Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida before an uneven three-year career as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets.

He faces a daunting and unlikely climb to the major leagues, as his showcase for major league scouts in Los Angeles showed. Tebow, at 6-3 and 260 pounds, showed impressive batting practice power, but struggled against former major league pitchers in live hitting. Scouts were satisfied with his slightly above average speed, less so with a weak outfield arm.

Tebow will attempt to make the major leagues as a corner outfielder.

PHOTOS | Tim Tebow baseball workout

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His climb will begin in Port St. Lucie, Fla., home of the Mets' spring training facility, where he'll get a crash course in professional baseball and participate in instructional league games. While Arizona Fall League rosters have been set, it's possible Tebow could play among the game's advanced prospects this October should he flourish in an instructional setting.

From there, winter ball is a possibility; a club in Venezuela already offered Tebow a contract, though he and the Mets may prefer development in a more controlled setting. In 2017? A trip to spring training - perhaps with a major league camp invite - and then a likely assignment to the Mets' Class AA affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y.

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As Tebow tries to hit top-level pitching, time will be his enemy. He turns 30 next August, a good five to seven years older than most players making their major league debut, let alone proving their chops in the minor leagues.

The Mets were among a handful of clubs expressing interest in Tebow, including the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves, who confirmed to USA TODAY Sports they viewed him as a legitimate prospect.

PHOTOS | Tim Tebow through the years

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