Twins Sign Jim Thome

The Twins officially signed designated hitter Jim Thome to a one-year, $1.5MM deal today.  The contract includes another $750K in plate appearance incentives.

It's a big step back salary-wise for the 564 homer man. Thome earned $13MM in 2009, but with many DHs vying for a handful of jobs, teams didn't have much reason to guarantee big money to positionless sluggers this winter, even those as distinguished as Thome.

Jason Kubel figures to get most of the starts at DH, so Thome will likely spell him occasionally and pinch-hit. Kubel can play the outfield, but the Twins already have Delmon Young, Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer.

Charley Walters and Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press first reported the deal and La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweeted details along with colleague Joe Christensen and MLB.com's Kelly Thesier.

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.


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27 Comments on "Twins Sign Jim Thome"


Motor_City_Bombshell
5 years 5 months ago

Looks like Thome is trying to complete his round-trip of the AL Central? The Twins, White Sox, Indians. Only the Tigers and Royals left to go!

Haha no but seriously, I don’t 100% understand this signing, but I do understand the leadership Thome brings to the clubhouse and the power bat he brings to the plate. He just isn’t very versatile, and I didn’t think I’d see the Twins pick him up. Nonetheless, I hate seeing this guy against the Tigers, he crushes them, and even though he’s aging, I’m not too eager to see him crush Tigers pitching again in 2010.

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

At $1.5m, that’s too good a deal for a bench player who could probably still hit 25 HR / 550 ABs. It makes 100% sense in that context; the price was too cheap to avoid buying.

jhawk90
5 years 5 months ago

HEY GUYS ITS JI

JIM THOME. LOVED CRANKED DINGERS IN THE HEFTY BAG BUT THE OUT OF DOORS WILL DO.

mistermonkey
5 years 5 months ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if JT winds up getting 300 ABs — a lot of those would be PH ABs of course, but he’ll get a nice chunk of starts (60?). Lots of right-handed pitchers in the AL Central, and Young is forever on the verge of being banished to the doghouse. That would all change, of course, if Mauer (or Morneau) tweaks something that would require him to DH exclusively, or if Delmon actually produces to his capabilities. Either way, Thome’s a good guy to have on your bench in the event of unexpected injury…

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

300 is incredibly generous.

He picked up 17 in 1 month for LAD. In the NL.

That projects to barely 100 PH ABs. In the NL.

If Kubel/Cuddyer/Morneau/Young don’t get injured, he won’t see more than 100 with the Twins.

Deviation
5 years 5 months ago

He will get the occasional start at DH, even if it means Kubel playing in LF in place of Young. Thome will easily get somewhere between 200-300 ABs, IMO.

Gardenhire plays everyone on his bench, really tries to play “the hot hand” and he has a lot of respect for Thome. In fact, Gardenhire lobbying for Thome is one of the reasons he picked the Twins.

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

Oh, no doubt if Thome gets hot he forces his way into the lineup. I hope he does get 200-300 ABs, because that means he’s hitting like 2006 and contributing.

I’m just being realistic that it’s 2010, the guy is 39 years old, and Gardy’s “I play this guy even with his .225 BA” card is already being held by Punto.

Anyhow, at 100 ABs or 300 ABs, it’s a great bench option.

mistermonkey
5 years 5 months ago

Yeah, maybe a bit generous, but this isn’t the NL. 40-50 obvious pinch hit ABs aside, he’s going to get quite a few starts at DH. The Twins are pretty versatile and Gardenhire will mix and match almost every game. Cuddyer sits 10-15 games — Thome takes some of those ABs. Ditto Morneau, Mauer, Kubel, Young. That easily amounts to 40 games started at DH — roughly 150 ABs. More if someone gets injured, which they inevitably will. So 300 ABs isn’t a stretch.

If JT ends up with 100 ABs, then Thome has gotten injured, DFA’d or Mauer/Kubel/Morneau has been forced to be DH for a long stretch due to injury. If they’re just using him as a PH, it’s a total waste of roster space. Thome is not a pinch hitter — he proved that by going 4-25 with 1 walk and 0 XBH last year for the White Sox and Dodgers. And you’re right that if he ends up with 300 ABs, it’s good for the Twins, because it means he must be producing well.

Guest
5 years 5 months ago

If Young continues to suck the Twins should move Kubel in Lf and Thome in the DH spot.

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t understand why it’s surprising a 39-yr old declining slugger who can’t play the field only commands $1.5m. Comparing it to the back end of a 6-yr $85m contract inked in the prime of his hitter career is foolish.

The tragedy of the Twins giving Thome at bats is he only needs 10 HR to crack the Top 10 All-Time HR leader board; and thereby displace Twins legend Harmon Killebrew.

5 years 5 months ago

If the Twins are smart they’ll go with a Kubel-Span-Cuddyer outfield with Thome/Young as their DH. If they’re concerned about Kubel’s health then they can move him to DH vs LHP and have Young play the field. They’ve got the potential to have a very solid offense this year, especially if they can add Orlando Hudson to the mix, and I’d hate to see them mess it up via giving significant at-bats to a inferior player in Delmon Young.

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

Kubel’s had ACL/MCL surgeries on both knees. Last year was the first in three his knees were actually healthy; and the first year he became a legit 30HR/100RBI guy.

I seriously doubt Gardy wants to risk him in the field.

Deviation
5 years 5 months ago

Kubel actually started 53 games in the outfield last year. I bet he’ll remain a DH through the rest of his career but he’ll still see time on the field.

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

Weren’t the lion’s share of those when Morneau went down and they had to bring Cuddyer in to 1B? Either way, I think we can all agree the Twins don’t view Kubel as a preferable OF option.

puffy26
5 years 5 months ago

Don’t sleep on Delmon Young this year. The guy has a new focus and was on fire at the end of last year. He lost a few lbs. too.

Koby2
5 years 5 months ago

Is Delmon Young that much better than Kubel on defense, that playing Kubel in the OF would be worse than having Delmon in the lineup?

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

They’re both poor fielders. Delmon has slightly better range, but commits more stupid mistakes.

Twins aren’t ready to pull the plug on Delmon, when he’s shown he can be a .300 hitter. It would take Thome hitting the laces off the ball combined with Delmon hitting .250 to force Gardy’s hand into putting Kubel in the OF.

CrisE
5 years 5 months ago

Kubel and Young are both bad out there, but Kubel had a horrific knee injury a few years ago and they go to great lengths to avoid putting any serious mileage on it. Things were worse on the turf at the Dome, so maybe home field grass will ease Gardy’s mind enough to increase Kubel’s defensive innings. (EDIT: Increasing the innings has no defensive benefit, but Kubel’s hit a lot better than Young over the past couple years.)

Koby2
5 years 5 months ago

Thanks guys, forgot Kubel had that knee problem. Hopefully Delmon can finally put it together this season for you guys. If that happens, Thome contributes off the bench and you get Hudson, then that’s going to be a pretty good offense.

RedbirdRuffian
5 years 5 months ago

Great signing, Thome will be the first guy off the bench if there is an injury to any of the outfielders plus Morneau or Kubel. Lots of at-bats available, he will also spell Cuddyer or Young against certain righthanders. Say what you will about Young even with a lifetime ba of 290, he has not had a breakout year and this is his opportunity. Defensively he has a strong accurate arm, does not misplay many balls, but always looks like he’s not hustling. Kubel has a knee problem that precludes him from playing outfield on a regular basis and is not a strong defender in any event.

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

The exception to “injury to any of the outfielders” is Span. Jason Pridie will plug in at CF if Span needs time; neither Young nor Cuddyer are capable of sliding in from the corners.

Edit: Whoa, I spoke too soon. You’re also WAY off in your characterization of Young’s defense. He led the OF last year in errors, and his UZR is ugly.

bjsguess
5 years 5 months ago

Thome and Hudson could be two of the very best bargains of the winter. I wasn’t a fan of Pavano but these two make up for it.

dickylarue
5 years 5 months ago

I agree completely. The Twins are using the collapsing market in a very savvy way.

R_y_a_n
5 years 5 months ago

I didnt hate the Pavano move, didn’t love it, but I do think someone would’ve given him 1 yr/7 mil on the open market because his agent seemed to read the market right, and was selling Pavano early…earlier in the market of course, there are plenty of teams who would think 1yr.7mil for an innings eater would be a good deal.

I agree though. Two huge bargains.

pinkiepinkerton
5 years 5 months ago

Thome, barring an epic collapse of skill, will easily get 200 – 300 ABs. My guess is that he starts with Kubel against all the tough righties, which the division has many of (Peavy, Greinke, Verlander, Floyd, etc).

Now, Delmon will rightly be given the chance to prove himself out of the gate, but should he be playing up to his normal level, Thome starts stealing about half of the starts against RHP by July, which leads to even more ABs.

whitesoxfan424
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t understand this signing by the Twins. Kubel is a more than capable DH, and if they put him in the field to put thome in at DH, the lineup is overly lefty with another base clogger. I like thome a lot, but this doesn’t make sense to me. A rightly like Dye, Nady, Baldelli would have made more sense to me…

bigpat
5 years 5 months ago

I guess the Thome signing isn’t bad, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to sign a righty since Kubel can’t hit lefties and their lineup is incredibly left handed. Kubel broke out last season, but really who knows if that will be the norm for him. Thome will be insurance and give them a few more options, but I feel like a righty or a guy who can play the field would have given them more options. But you can’t go wrong with a power bat under 2M.