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Twins have 'real interest' in Jim Thome

Jan 22, 2010, 3:40 PM EDT

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune did some investigating after a rumor began circulating out of Chicago that Jim Thome is close to signing with the Twins and much to my surprise he found that … well, there’s actually some truth behind it:

I called a Twins official, expecting to hear that this is totally far-fetched, and turns out they do have real interest in Thome and haven’t ruled out their chances of signing him. Probably not today, mind you, but it’s getting late in the offseason and the prices for free agents are falling fast. The Twins are bargain hunting, and if Thome were to accept a bench role at a severely reduced price–he made $13 million last year–there could be a match.

Just yesterday I wrote about how Thome remained a very productive, useful player despite seemingly getting almost no interest as a free agent, so the Twins are smart to pursue him. With that said, it’s tough to see a real fit for Thome in Minnesota, because the Twins already have Jason Kubel as a left-handed designated hitter and for better or worse (mostly worse) seem committed to playing Delmon Young every day in left field.
Now, moving Kubel to left field, sending Young to the bench, and installing Thome as the primary DH would be a massive upgrade to the lineup, but I’d be surprised if the Twins were actually considering that option. Thome can’t hit lefties or play defense at this point, but he hit .262/.383/.498 against right-handers last season. That works out to an .881 OPS versus righties, which would have ranked fourth on the Twins sandwiched between Justin Morneau at .906 and Michael Cuddyer at .803. He can still mash.

  1. Bill@TDS - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    Oh lord no.
    Delmon is terrible, but at least he has the kind of athletic ability that suggests an increasingly faint possibility that he might eventually be able to play in the outfield. Not so Kubel. While a Kubel/Young platoon would actually be brilliant, it should be at DH, and they should find someone who can actually handle LF.
    I love Jim Thome. I’d love to be able to root for Jim Thome after all those years as the only White Sox player I could stand. But this move just makes no sense to me at all.

  2. BC - Jan 22, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    The Tigers seem to make the most sense to me.

  3. JasonC23 - Jan 22, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    If the Sox lose Thome to the Twins, that would be really disappointing. You need a bat, Kenny, just sign him already.

  4. Bill Pecota - Jan 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Thome’s OPS vs. RHP in 2009 was .881. Young’s was .684. A 200 point difference would certainly warrant taking chances with Kubel in the outfield at least some of the time against RHP.

  5. GoldenHorde - Jan 22, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    If he’s willing to take

  6. baseballbob - Jan 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    I am all for signing Jim Thome. First, the Twins have ‘NOTHING’ coming off the bench that is a threat a dinger. Second, it is a long season. Remember when Morneau went down last season? Thome isn’t going to play first base, but when Kubel entered the lineup full time, Thome would have looked good in the DH role. As for Delmon Young, the kid came around down the stretch and in the playoffs. Don’t give up on him.

  7. online stock trading - Feb 16, 2010 at 6:50 PM

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