Jim Thome will eventually retire as one of the game’s most accomplished power hitters, but he doesn’t want to call it a career just yet. The 42-year-old free agent told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s heading to Phoenix next week to continue his workouts. He’ll stay in shape to be sure he’s ready should an interested team call. However, after 22 seasons at the MLB level, Thome has been reluctant to accept a minor league deal.
“For me, what I’ve done in the game, I felt really strongly about that,” Thome told Rosenthal. “I still love the game. I want to keep playing. But I felt after 20-something years, that if I went back and played, I wanted to get an opportunity to make a club at the Major League level. To me, that was important. I feel I’m still a Major League player. I’m in great shape.”
Thome, an SFX client, doesn’t offer defensive value at this stage in his career; he’s strictly a designated hitter and pinch hitter. He played for the Phillies and Orioles in 2012, posting a .252/.344/.442 batting line with eight home runs in 186 plate appearances.
The Yankees and Orioles don’t appear to be fits for Thome based on recent reports. The Indians once had interest, but have since added a similar player in Jason Giambi. At this stage, no team stands out as an obvious candidate to offer Thome a guaranteed roster spot.