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Mike Rizzo says Tim Tebow reaching the big leagues ‘would defy all odds’

Tim Tebow in 2014. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

On the one hand, Tim Tebow’s proposed mid-career embrace of a professional baseball journey feels awfully publicity-stunty, the kind of thing that makes great (or maybe “great”) copy during the summer doldrums but seems unlikely to amount to much. No, I have no experience with this, why do you ask?

On the other hand, the biggest sports network in the country ran a lengthy and sort-of serious story on the matter, which quoted a former MLB catcher saying Tebow could advance to the majors “relatively quickly,” and noted that all 30 MLB teams will be invited to a Tebow workout at the end of the month. So if you had an MLB general manager on your radio show, you might as well ask him whether he’d be interested in said workout.

“My thoughts are he’s a great athlete, one of the great college football players of all time, and a great personality,” Nats GM Mike Rizzo said on the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning. “He seems like a great guy. I don’t know the man myself, but he carries himself very, very well. You know, [it’s an] extreme, huge long shot that he could 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, but all I know is guys who haven’t played in 10 years that are 28 years old, I would consider them extreme longshots.

“The one thing about this game, fellas: it is a tough game to play,” Rizzo continued. “Man, it is a difficult game to play.”

Rizzo then mentioned that he worked in the White Sox organization when Michael Jordan attempted a mid-career switch to baseball.

“And he struggled mightily to do it,” Rizzo said. “It’s a tough game to play. To me, it’s the most difficult game to master, it takes the longest period of time. I’d describe it as ‘Go for it, Tim.’ If somebody gives you an opportunity, that’d be great. But … longshot. It makes for a good story, but he would defy all odds if he were to make it to the big leagues.”

So maybe don’t get a personalized No. 15 Nats jersey just yet. Or actually, do get that jersey, and send me a photo. That would be a great item.

On the other hand, the independent Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have publicly expressed interest in signing Tebow, and Waldorf isn’t terribly far away.

Rizzo said he hasn’t seen the clips of Tebow swinging a bat, and he wouldn’t venture any opinion on his skills without watching him, “but it’s just he would be the first, the first ever to do it.”

“We’ve got about 200 minor league players that I’m worried about right now,” Rizzo said. “We really evaluate all these guys, we put a lot of time into these players. And I don’t want to shortchange anybody, because I’ve never seen him play. But it’s unlikely.”  

Rizzo, if anything, was a bit more circumspect than Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

“Was he born in Cuba? Okay, then our interest is probably not as high as it would be,” Alderson told reporters, when asked if the Mets would attend Tebow’s showcase. “We’ll make a decision on that. I don’t want to be too cavalier about that but probably not going to have an impact on us in a material way over the next two months.”