Twins Land Thome On The Cheap

The Minnesota Twins signed Jim Thome to a one year contract that will guarantee the slugger $3 million and include incentives based on plate appearances.  Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero and Johnny Damon are not impressed.

Last season, in 340 plate appearances, a renewed Thome cranked out 25 home runs and had an astounding 1.039 OPS, his best since 2002.  As Aaron Gleeman points out at HardBall Talk:

Thome started just 34 of the Twins’ first 84 games last season, but then became an everyday player following Justin Morneau‘s season-ending concussion on July 7 and put up incredible numbers down the stretch. Morneau’s status remains a huge question mark, but if he’s healthy the Twins will again have five hitters for four lineup spots and manager Ron Gardenhire will have to stick Thome, Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, or Jason Kubel on the bench each game.

Thome very clearly hits right handed pitching better than left, and I wonder how much of his success last season was due to less wear and tear on his 40 year old body from not playing everyday.  The Twins might do well to keep Thome rested whenever they can, and that could be whenever a southpaw is on the mound.

But no matter how he’s used this coming season, it’s a great signing for Minnesota, who risk little money on a quality bat.  Think about it this way, the Toronto Blue Jays were widely praised for signing Edwin Encarnacion to a guaranteed $3 million to play DH and fill in at first base this coming season.  And while Encarnacion’s 21 dingers in 367 plate appearances might compare to Thome’s home run pace, his .787 OPS doesn’t even enter into Thome’s stratosphere.

And as an added bonus for Twins fans, Thome needs only 11 home runs to reach 600 for his career.  The big designated hitter has also let it be known that he intends to go into recruiting mode to ensure that pitcher Carl Pavano resigns with the Minnesota as well.

The contract does run the risk of setting the bar fairly low for the three remaining DH types, none of whom put up better averages than Thome last season, but all of whom were probably looking for more money than Thome got.

Comments (13)

  1. Hopefully the Jays can use this to sign Manny on the cheap.

  2. DAMN!!! We even used the same title for our posts!! You’re good Parkes.

  3. Great minds think alike . . . and so do ours apparently.

  4. I think this deal is amazing. It makes spending much more than that on any DH-only player seem silly.

  5. I thought we signed E5 for $2.5 mill? There’s a buyout of $1.5 mill if the Jays decline his $3.5 mill option?

  6. @JRock. It’s actually $2.0-million for 2011 with a $500-k buyout if his $3.5-million 2012 option is not picked up. So you’re right.

  7. The Jays have no excuse for not signing one of these available DH’s.

  8. My bad. It’s a guaranteed $3 million. $2.5 mil in 2011, 500k buyout.

  9. Vladdy, Vladdy, Vladdy!!!

    Please and thank you.

  10. @Parkes.Your point still stands. We signed E5 for 3mill guaranteed when a much, much better hitter Thome signed for the same amount of guaranteed money.

    The main differences being that E5 can fill in at 1B and 3B if needed and is much, much, much younger (isn’t he only 27?) so there is a probability of improvement. Thome also may have needed more $$ to come to Toronto since he has a comfort level in Minnesota since he played there last year.

  11. Yeah, it’s not as simple as just offering THome the same deal. Otherwise, he probably would’ve gone to Texas. Still, Jays really have to add a DH now if this contract sets the bar asyou say.

  12. If Tampa signs Manny, and he mashes, i don’t know what i’ll do. SIGN MANNY!

  13. I say fuck it: EE for 3B!

    Escobar/Snider/Manny/JoBau/Lind/Wells/EE/Hill/JPA

    That lineup could actually fucking destroy worlds.

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