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Twins re-sign Jim Thome to one-year, $3 million contract

Jan 14, 2011, 12:26 PM EDT

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After flirting with the Rangers while searching for a multi-year deal, Jim Thome has returned to the Twins on a one-year contract.

According to Kelly Thesier of MLB.com he’ll get $3 million in guaranteed money, plus incentives based on playing time, which means the Twins got Thome at a bargain rate for the second straight offseason after he hit .283 with 25 homers and a 1.039 OPS in 340 plate appearances last year while earning around $2 million.

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.

That’s a nice problem to have, of course, and Gardenhire could make things easy on himself by sitting Thome or Kubel versus lefties and Cuddyer versus righties, but Cuddyer has never been a part-time player before. However the playing time shakes out, the Twins are bringing back one of the elite hitters in baseball for just $3 million in upfront money and it’s impossible to spin that as anything but a great move.

  1. tpetter - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Great move by the Twins and a classy move by Jim Thome. Welcome back.

  2. Adam - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    I can’t believe he took 3 million after saying he wanted to make up for money he didn’t get last year. My guess is that negotiations this year hinged around playing time and that he was told he’d get more playing time than he did at the start of last year. Then again, if Gardy doesn’t notice that Thome needs to be in the lineup more after what he did last year then goodness.

    • Lukehart80 - Jan 14, 2011 at 4:48 PM

      I think that got blown out of proportion. So many people took that to mean he wanted something like $10M, I think he just wanted more than $1.5M again. He’s gonna get double that, which I doubt is that far from whatever he might have hoped to get.

  3. writtenbyross - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    If I can’t see him in a Tribe uniform again (and being that he makes over $27 a year, it’s impossible) at least he’s in the division and I can see him play on a semi-regular basis.

  4. wonkypenguin - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Love this signing, even if he is 40+ years old. Until proven otherwise, I would love to see Kubel be the odd man out. Absolutely not sold on him whatsoever.

    • tpetter - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      Kubel is a very good hitter. He just needs to be limited againts lefties.

  5. dodger88 - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    It’s possible that the lack of playing time early on helped him perform so well as the season progressed and his playing time increased. They would be wise to give him regular time off in the hopes of keeping him fresh and in good health. I’d love to see him perform at a high level for several more years even if that means he plays about 2/3 of the games.

    • sknut - Jan 14, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      I couldn’t agree more. On one hand I wonder if the Twins wouldn’t be interested in moving Kubel for bullpen help but on the other you want a healthy Thome and limiting his at bats would improve that.

  6. spokes310 - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    One year for $3 million? Uh-oh. Manny can’t like those numbers.

  7. uyf1950 - Jan 14, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    That leaves 3 DH’s left. Damon, Vlad & Ramirez. Not a lot of AL teams left in need of DH’s.

  8. 1twinsfan - Jan 15, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    Now if we can just seal the deal with Pavano! And avoid those b’tards the Yankees in the playoffs.

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