Thome, 11 homers shy of 600, has balked at re-signing with the Twins so far this offseason following his productive 2010. While no longer a full-time DH, Thome can still be very effective when used correctly, as the Twins did last season when he appeared in 108 games for Minnesota.
Thome was used mostly against right-handed pitchers last season, hitting .302/.455/.698 against right-handers in 246 plate appearance and .241/.298/.471 in 94 plate appearances against lefties. All but two of his 16 homers came against right-handers.
The Rangers are still trying to figure out how to move forward with their lineup after signing free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Michael Young is certain to be moved, but will he be a first baseman or a designated hitter.
Young hit better against left-handers in 2010, .322/.374/.497 last season, while hitting .270/.314/.425 against righties. But if he's a full-time first baseman, he doesn't figure into the designated hitter spot.
However, the team has said it may use him more as a utility player, giving him starts across the infield to spell second baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus and Beltre. Thome's presence could aid that usage of Young.
While Thome's not exactly a perfect, easy fit for the Rangers, he does add to the Texas offense. The Rangers certainly have the money Thome's looking for -- the Twins paid him $1.5 million last season and he's been said to be looking for a raise after 2010, one Minnesota's not sure it can afford.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans