FEB. 24: Commings received the same $100K signing bonus that Tebow did upon signing his minor league pact with the Mets, tweets Rosenthal.
FEB. 23: The Braves have agreed to sign former NFL defensive back Sanders Commings to a minor league contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Rosenthal wrote earlier this month that the former Kansas City Chiefs and University of Georgia corner had interest in pursuing a baseball career as an outfielder.
Commings, who will turn 27 in early March, was a fifth-round pick by the Chiefs back in 2013, though he appeared in just two games with Kansas City in his brief NFL career. He’s no stranger to baseball, having played high school ball in Augusta, Ga., as Rosenthal noted. The Diamondbacks actually drafted Commings in the 37th round back in 2008, but he opted instead to attend Georgia and ultimately pursued a career in football.
Commings is being represented by agent Charles Hairston, the cousin of former Major Leaguers Jerry Hairston Jr. and Scott Hairston. Jerry Hairston lauded Commings’ athleticism and natural baseball acumen when speaking to Rosenthal, telling him that he believes Commings would already be in the Majors had he stuck with baseball for his whole career. Certainly, that’s a bold statement and one that should be taken with a grain of salt from someone who clearly has a vested interest in selling the abilities of the player in question — the Starling Marte comp used by Hairston seems particularly egregious — but it’s also unlikely that Hairston would’ve taken the time to work with a talent that he did not believe had a potential future in the game.
Jerry Hairston and Commings have been working out together five times per week, Rosenthal noted in his column, and Hairston enlisted Class-A Rangers right-hander Collin Wiles to throw to him this winter. Wiles, the former No. 53 pick in the draft (2012), said that he’s been impressed by Commings’ work at the plate as well.
It’s not yet clear exactly where Commings will begin his minor league career. While the odds are certainly stacked against him, and he’ll inevitably draw comparisons to former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who is pursuing a baseball career with the Mets, there’s little harm in the big picture for the Braves to roll the dice on Commings’ athleticism.