Questions loom as to whether Tim Tebow has a future in baseball, although there's no doubting his commercial appeal.
Tebow began his first day of instructional league ball with the New York Mets on Monday, his first foray into organized baseball since high school. He’s a long shot to make the Mets --- or any other major league roster – and yet the Tebow No. 15 Mets jersey was the top seller on the team’s official online shop.
For $119.99 and free shipping, you can order the “special event item” similar --- at least material-wise --- to the jersey with moisture-wicking technology Tebow will wear this week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Tebow, however, donned a blue No. 15 jersey as he began taking drills on Monday.
Typically, jerseys are only sold for those players on the active, 25-man roster. But a so-called “bridge agreement” was worked out with jersey supplier Majestic, Major League Baseball spokesperson Matt Bourne said in an email to USA TODAY Sports.
Tebow presents the rare case of a player not on the active or 40-man rosters who has the marketing appeal to sell jerseys. Teams' 40-man rosters typically consist of the active roster and disabled list, and top prospects closest to the major leagues. The players' association will occasionally - albeit rarely - enter into bridge agreements for players expected to make a major league roster.
Since Tebow is not a member of the players' association, the revenue will be split however the Mets, Tebow and Majestic see fit.
Members of baseball's union receive licensing payouts at the end of each year based on service time, an amount that can exceed $20,000 for the most experienced players.
No. 15 was Tebow's old football number at the University of Florida and his three-season NFL career. Third baseman Matt Reynolds currently wears No. 15 with the Mets.
However, judging by the hundreds of fans who showed up to the Mets' training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Tebow has overtaken Reynolds as the Mets' definitive 15.
Tebow worked out in front of major league scouts in Los Angeles last month. The Mets signed Tebow days later and he received a $100,000 bonus.
Contributing: Gabe Lacques