WASHINGTON — Baseball player Tim Tebow held a workout for Major League scouts in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon.
According to ESPN analyst Jim Bowden, all but two of the 30 clubs sent scouts to watch Tebow’s showcase, though there were as many as 46 scouts attending in total.
The Nationals, Bowden — the former Nationals’ GM — says, were one of the two clubs to refrain from attending.
Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post has heard differently. However, it seems something may have changed between Monday and Tuesday afternoon.
Kevin Costner: Why Would Tebow Not Try?
For what it’s worth, current Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has spoken about Tebow’s dream to play in the big leagues on several occasions recently.
Here’s what he told The Sports Junkies during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance on Aug. 10:
*My thoughts are he’s a great athlete, one of the great college football players of all time and great personality. He seems like a great guy. I don’t know the man myself, but carries himself very, very well. Extreme, huge long shot that he can make it at his age. If he came out of high school and was a baseball player, who knows? I’ve never seen the man play — I wouldn’t venture an opinion on him. All I know is guys who haven’t played in 10 years that are 28 years old, I would consider them extreme long shots. The one thing about this game is, fellas, it is a tough game to play, man. It is a difficult game to play. I was with the White Sox when Michael Jordan entered that foray of attempting to be a baseball player. You know, there was no greater athlete than him at the time and he struggled mightily to do it. It’s a tough game to play. To me it’s the most difficult game to master. It takes the longest period of time. And I describe it as, ‘Go for it, Tim. If somebody gives you an opportunity, that’d be great.’ But long shot. It makes for a good story, but it’s just, he would defy all odds if he were to make it to the big leagues.
*I’ve never seen the man play. If I were to see him play and evaluate him, I’d give you a more firm opinion. It’s just, he would be the first, the first ever to do it so, like I said, extreme long shot. But it’s a good story.
*This game is so hard to play. It is so difficult to hit a baseball when a guy’s throwing it 95 with movement and splits, and sliders, and cutters, and up-and-in and then down-and-away. It’s just a tough game to play, man.
*We’ve got about 200 minor league players that I’m worried about right now and we’ve really evaluated all these guys. We put a lot of time into these players. I don’t want to shortchange anybody, because I’ve never seen him play, but it’s unlikely.
The Junkies broached the topic with Rizzo again on Aug. 24, when news first broke of Tebow’s workout date:
“I don’t think that we have assigned a scout to see him,” Rizzo said last Wednesday. “We’ve got our guys with hopeful playoff aspirations and playoff teams to look at, potential free agents for next year. Our coverage that we have and our assignments, we’re spread pretty thin and we’re not going to take somebody off of their assigned coverage to go see him. I’ll put it that way.”
So, to answer the question raised by the headline above, who knows? Either way, Tebow’s workout elicited mixed reviews. Here’s how Bowden’s sources evaluated Tebow’s tools on the 20-80 scale.
We did learn definitively Tebow considers himself an outfielder, per the one-sheet handed out by his agents.
And, apparently, he’s pretty fast.
[Update: Wednesday, Aug. 31]:
Rizzo cleared up the confusion over the Nationals’ presence at Tebow’s workout during his Wednesday morning appearance on The Junkies, saying the Nats didn’t assign a scout to the showcase, however one of their area scouts based in Los Angeles decided to check it out because he was nearby.
“We didn’t assign a scout to him because we had our pro scouts allocated and assigned at more important places,” Rizzo said. “Our area scout, who lives there by USC, decided to go over and see what it was all about, so he did witness the workout.”