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Friday, November 04, 2011

Mlb.com: Thome, Phillies agree to one-year deal

I was at Citizens Bank Park a few days after Thome’s 600th career home run. The Jumbotron in left field replayed the moment and the Phils fans’ lengthy ovation was genuine. Welcome home.

Sources said Friday evening that the Phillies and Thome have agreed on a one-year contract, pending Thome passing a physical. Terms of the deal were unknown, although it seems likely to be a low-risk signing.

It is not a surprising move, but it is an interesting one. Both parties hoped to reunite during the 2011 season, but the Twins traded Thome to the Cleveland Indians in August. Thome has maintained a strong relationship with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who has been a big influence in his career from their time together in Cleveland. He also has fond memories of the Phillies, who traded him to the Chicago White Sox following the 2005 season to clear room for Ryan Howard.

Thome will provide a strong presence in the clubhouse and power off the bench from the left side of the plate, which the Phillies sorely lacked in 2011. But Thome also turned 41 in August and has played just 28 innings defensively since the Phillies traded him to the White Sox.

Thome has made just one appearance defensively since 2007—a token appearance at third base with the Indians this season—playing exclusively as the designated hitter for the White Sox, Twins and Indians. Thome joined the Los Angeles Dodgers for the final month of the 2009 season, making 17 at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

AndrewJ Posted: November 04, 2011 at 11:51 PM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, phillies, twins

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 02:26 AM (#3986861)
Interesting to see if Thome can be merely bad (as opposed to catastrophically awful) at 1B while Howard is out.

If he can limit the damage at 1B to a -10-15 runs/season rate, they can probably live with it, and he'd be a nice stop-gap. The man can still hit about as well as Howard, if you don't ask him to play every day.
   2. Dan Posted: November 05, 2011 at 02:33 AM (#3986864)
Seems weird that he'd sign this early for that little when so many teams could use him as a DH (Rays, Jays, O's, etc.). Seems like he really wants that last shot at a ring, and thought Philly was his best shot.
   3. Silencio Posted: November 05, 2011 at 02:52 AM (#3986872)
He must have been real deadset on going to Philly. If not the Rays, Rangers or even Red Sox made a big mistake by not trying to sign him. MLBTR is reporting that all it took was 1.25 million.
   4. TerpNats Posted: November 05, 2011 at 03:00 AM (#3986877)
From Cleveland to Philadelphia again, albeit with far less acrimony than the first time. How many players get two triumphant "welcome homes"?
   5. KJOK Posted: November 05, 2011 at 03:10 AM (#3986879)
So he gets about 80 PH appearances, DH's for another 100, and adds maybe 20 'emergency/stay in game at 1B after PHing' PA's, at the max, assuming he's healthy. So best case is around 200 PAs.
   6. spike Posted: November 05, 2011 at 03:13 AM (#3986880)
DH's for another 100

Perhaps I am misreading this, but there aren't enough interleague games to get him 100 PA's as a dh, as this is the NL.
   7. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: November 05, 2011 at 03:43 AM (#3986890)
How many players get two triumphant "welcome homes"?

Harold Baines had two in Chicago and arguably one in Baltimore.
   8. Jacob Posted: November 05, 2011 at 03:50 AM (#3986893)
Cool, maybe he'll finally get a ring.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: November 05, 2011 at 03:53 AM (#3986898)
Harold Baines had two in Chicago and arguably one in Baltimore.


Rickey had 3 in Oakland (and one in SD, I suppose).
   10. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 03:56 AM (#3986899)
Thome will provide a strong presence in the clubhouse


Shut up.
   11. Dan Posted: November 05, 2011 at 04:00 AM (#3986900)
   12. Good cripple hitter Posted: November 05, 2011 at 04:14 AM (#3986902)
Tony Fernandez had three with Toronto: in 1993 when they traded for him, in 1998 when he came back as a free agent, and in 2001 when he was released by the Brewers and had a surprisingly decent run as a pinch hitter.
   13. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: November 05, 2011 at 05:05 AM (#3986911)
Interesting choice. If he can still play even a tiny bit of first base this is a great signing.
   14. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: November 05, 2011 at 05:06 AM (#3986912)
He'll be welcomed home to the White Sox and probably the Twins too, if he hangs around a while. I don't know if Dodger fans remember him too well.
   15. Silencio Posted: November 05, 2011 at 05:31 AM (#3986915)
Signing Cuddyer seems like it would be a terrible move for the Phillies. Between Brown/Mayberry/Thome/Francisco and Howard when he gets back they should be able to handle LF and 1B pretty well and the Phillies have real holes. Amaro has already said he wasn't content starting the season without bringing in a closer and SS is a much bigger hole than LF is. Galvis doesn't seem much better than replacement level currently and I wouldn't consider him to be someone who you care about blocking. Even if they have the budget room, and I don't think they do, to sign Cuddyer, a closer and bring back Rollins, they would be better off just signing a closer, Reyes, and another small piece instead. Why do they have so little faith in Brown that they don't even feel happy platooning him until Howard comes back? Signing Cuddyer or Willingham would be a waste of resources for them.
   16. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 05, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#3986947)
So he gets about 80 PH appearances, DH's for another 100, and adds maybe 20 'emergency/stay in game at 1B after PHing' PA's, at the max, assuming he's healthy. So best case is around 200 PAs.


I expect Thome will start at 1B against some righties until Howard is back, so his PAs will likely be a bit north of 200. Can you really expect him to play much more than that?

If Cuddyer can play 3B at all, he would be useful to the Phils. Polanco can't play a full season.

I think they will dump Francisco, either in a nothing trade or non-tender. He's just not that good and has really regressed defensively.

The Phils have said that they think Brown needs a full season at AAA. Maybe they believe it, maybe they are trying to light a fire under Brown -- is he not working hard enough on defense? Who knows?
   17. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 02:36 PM (#3986956)
Jim Thome played third this year? The hell?
   18. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: November 05, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3986958)
Jim Thome played third this year? The hell?

For approximately one pitch or so. Purley a symbolic, for old-time's-sake move.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#3986992)
I expect Thome will start at 1B against some righties until Howard is back

I'd think most righties. At least half the total games.

I can't believe a guy who was a long-time 1B can't fake it, even at his age. How much worse than Howard is he really going to be? It's not like he's replacing Keith Hernandez out there.
   20. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 05, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3986997)
Christina Kahrl sez: if Jason Giambi can do it, I don't see why Jim Thome can't do it.
   21. Bob Tufts Posted: November 05, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3987002)
And a salute to Jim Thome - and Torii Hunter, Micheal Cuddyer, Ian Desmond and Neil Walker - for attending the MLBP Alumni Association dinner on Thursday honoring Don Mattingly, Jim Kaat and Thome.

Despite the whiny press reports, alomost all players know where they fit in the history of the game and respect it.
   22. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: November 05, 2011 at 05:54 PM (#3987013)
very happy about this. it's really great to see players like lee and thome leave money on the table to come back to philly.


re:cuddyer, iirc, he's half-deaf, so MIN stopped playing him in LF and 3B. i think it also affects him when he plays 2B. so, i don't think that's really a match for the phillies.
   23. puck Posted: November 05, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#3987029)
Christina Kahrl sez: if Jason Giambi can do it, I don't see why Jim Thome can't do it.


FWIW they differ in that Giambi never completely stopped playing 1st. I was surprised to see Thome hasn't played 1st since 2007, and that was 1 game. You'd think both these guys could contribute more for AL teams, but hey, good for the Phillies.
   24. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#3987048)
I can't believe a guy who was a long-time 1B can't fake it, even at his age.


Near the end of his White Sox days, I was under the impression that he was literally physically incapable of playing the infield. I thought it was reported that his back simply wouldn't allow him to bend down to field a ball. That season, Konerko was injured during interleague play and the Sox put Josh Fields at 1B and benched both Konerko and Thome in games at NL parks and then, as a Dodger, Thome never once stepped on the field. I guess the physical will tell the tale, but I'm skeptical.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:08 PM (#3987049)
I was under the impression that he was literally physically incapable of playing the infield. I thought it was reported that his back simply wouldn't allow him to bend down to field a ball.

If that's true, that makes this signing much, much worse.

Even if he's terrible at 1B, it allows you to PH and double switch and stuff. As a pure PH/DH, he has a lot less value in the NL.

I'd be surprised if Thome would sign in the NL if he didn't think he could play the field (he may be wrong). There have to be plenty of AL teams that would happily take him as a 300 AB DH.
   26. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3987053)
I'd be surprised if Thome would sign in the NL if he didn't think he could play the field (he may be wrong). There have to be plenty of AL teams that would happily take him as a 300 AB DH.
ftfa
Thome has maintained a strong relationship with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who has been a big influence in his career from their time together in Cleveland. He also has fond memories of the Phillies
his career is winding down, and he decided to go where his heart is. he could have gone somewhere he'd be more productive; he could have gone somewhere he'd make more money...but he chose to come here.
   27. OCF Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#3987054)
Thome spent Sept. 2009 with the Dodgers and never played an inning in the field. My understanding at that time was that he couldn't play in the field. And Torre kept waiting for the perfect spots to used him as a PH. Perfect spots aren't all that easy to find, and the result was that Thome was underutilized.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:20 PM (#3987055)
his career is winding down, and he decided to go where his heart is. he could have gone somewhere he'd be more productive; he could have gone somewhere he'd make more money...but he chose to come here.

Yeah, but he doesn't make much sense for the Phillies either if he's a PH only in 150 of their games.

Every time you use him to PH, you burn two bench players, and with the 12 man bullpens, you really don't have the bench depth to do that.

If Thome can't play 1B, this is a sentimental mistake for both parties.
   29. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3987061)
Every time you use him to PH, you burn two bench players


No, in the NL, the vast majority of his PH appearances will be hitting for the pitcher.
   30. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3987065)
Every time you use him to PH, you burn two bench players, and with the 12 man bullpens, you really don't have the bench depth to do that.

If Thome can't play 1B, this is a sentimental mistake for both parties.
A)the phillies have halladay, hamels, and lee. i'm gonna have to say that double switches will not be a critical factor in the success the team has next year.

B) the phillies will likely have placido polanco and freddy galvis starting for them. even if you get a complete game from one of the aces, there's still gonna be an opportunity for thome to get to bat without having to take out a pitcher who's cruising.

C) thome seems to think that he'll be able to get into shape to play the field. he's got all of november, december, january, february, and march to get to be passable at the position.
   31. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:50 PM (#3987071)
very happy about this. it's really great to see players like lee and thome leave money on the table to come back to philly.


Assuming Lee's option kicks in, which it probably will be unless he gets seriously hurt, he left no money on the table.
   32. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: November 05, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#3987073)
[29] Well, when he was with the Dodgers, whenever he got on base he was immediately pinch run for. Although, Randy Wolf was often used as the pinch runner.

I have a feeling that his back is in better condition now than it was back then, though. Otherwise, I doubt he'd sign with an NL team.
   33. Lassus Posted: November 05, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3987076)
his career is winding down, and he decided to go where his heart is. he could have gone somewhere he'd be more productive; he could have gone somewhere he'd make more money...but he chose to come here.

It's the DiPerna dogwhistle!
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3987077)
No, in the NL, the vast majority of his PH appearances will be hitting for the pitcher.

But late in the game, aren't you generally double switching in that case?
   35. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: November 05, 2011 at 08:12 PM (#3987080)
But late in the game, aren't you generally double switching in that case?
even if that costs them 3 or 4 games over the course of the season, i think they'll still be content with winning 108.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3987085)
even if that costs them 3 or 4 games over the course of the season, i think they'll still be content with winning 108.

I love delusional fans.

I have a feeling that his back is in better condition now than it was back then, though. Otherwise, I doubt he'd sign with an NL team.

Agree.
   37. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 05, 2011 at 08:30 PM (#3987089)
re:cuddyer, iirc, he's half-deaf, so MIN stopped playing him in LF and 3B. i think it also affects him when he plays 2B. so, i don't think that's really a match for the phillies.

The hell?
I'm deaf in my right ear, always have been, and it's never affected my play anywhere on the field. I mean, the other ear still works fine.
The idea that he can't hear somebody who is YELLING at him, because his good ear is pointed in the opposite direction? Madness.
   38. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 05, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#3987117)
Didn't free agency used to start later in November? Did that change recently?
   39. ColonelTom Posted: November 05, 2011 at 09:50 PM (#3987119)
Cuddyer's not much more a 3B than Thome is a 1B. He's started 13 games at 3B since 2005. For all his "versatility" (i.e., his laudable willingness to put on a glove and stand wherever he's asked), he's barely played LF either (3 career starts, all in 2004). He's a poor fit for the Phils on anything beyond a one-year deal, and I'd have to imagine the Twins would top that offer.
   40. Bob Evans Posted: November 06, 2011 at 01:13 AM (#3987191)
The idea that he can't hear somebody who is YELLING at him, because his good ear is pointed in the opposite direction? Madness.

Mightn't it be different for different people? My dad, who is similarly afflicted, can't even be in a room full of conversation without leaving in frustration. I can imagine a ballpark being similar.
   41. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 06, 2011 at 01:43 AM (#3987204)
Mightn't it be different for different people? My dad, who is similarly afflicted, can't even be in a room full of conversation without leaving in frustration. I can imagine a ballpark being similar.

Picking out & following a conversation in a crowded room or loud bar can definitely be tough. And granted, I've never played in a stadium with 50,000 people all yelling at the same time (unlikely at this late date, barring a miracle visit from the Knuckleball Fairy). But distinguishing shouted single words from a familiar, expected voice shouldn't be any harder just because you can't hear in stereo. If you wore one earplug all day, you'd still be able to tell if somebody was calling to you if they were standing on the earplugged side.
   42. Endless Trash Posted: November 06, 2011 at 01:54 AM (#3987208)

even if that costs them 3 or 4 games over the course of the season, i think they'll still be content with winning 108.


You sound like an Eagles fan prior to this season...
   43. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 06, 2011 at 02:08 AM (#3987213)
Well, considering the other 3 teams in the NFC East, the Eagles still might win about 108 games in their division alone.
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 06, 2011 at 02:12 AM (#3987215)
I'm deaf in my right ear, always have been, and it's never affected my play anywhere on the field. I mean, the other ear still works fine.

It's the same way with eyesight. With my glaucoma, I can only see out of the bottom half of my left eye, and I've got blind spots scattered around my right eye, but with both eyes open I don't even notice it.
   45. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 06, 2011 at 02:19 PM (#3987322)
I can't wait for Ray to jump in a say "See, I told ya, Andy has blind spots!"

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