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Jim Thome signs with Phillies

Posted on: November 4, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 4:33 pm
By Matt Snyder

Jim Thome spent three seasons in Philadelphia and now he's headed back for one more. He has agreed to a one-year contract with the Phillies, the team announced Saturday. The contract is worth $1.25 million.

One would expect Thome's role to simply be a left-handed power bat off the bench, as he hasn't played more than a three games in the field in a season since 2005. General manager Ruben Amaro said as much after the signing:

“We’re very happy to be able to bring Jim back to Philadelphia at this point in his career,” said Amaro in a statement.  “He will be an option for Charlie to use off the bench each night and brings a great attitude to the ballpark every day.”

Other than a symbolic appearance at third base to end the 2011 season, he's been either a designated hitter or pinch hitter since 2007.

The interesting thing here is that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is recovering from surgery that repaired his torn Achilles tendon shortly after the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS (Howard suffered the injury on the final out). Reports have indicated Howard could make it back by opening day but he's going to have to avoid any setbacks and that the timetable still seems pretty aggressive. So perhaps the Phillies try to use Thome at first in the early weeks of the season? It all depends on how much they want his bat in the lineup in comparison with how much defense they're willing to sacrifice. Thome has said that he's going to come prepared to play defense when he reports to camp this spring.

Thome, 41, became just the eighth man in baseball history to slug at least 600 career home runs when he hit No. 600 this past season as a member of the Twins. He was then traded to the Indians -- where he began his career -- in late August. Thome was with the Phillies from 2003-05, but he was only the full-time starter for the first two years. By the third year, Howard had taken over as the starter at first base as Thome battled injuries -- clearing the way for the Phillies to trade Thome to the White Sox after the season. Still, Thome definitely likes the organization.

"Every player sees the way the Phillies have done things," Thome said. "They've set the bar very, very high."

And his relationship with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is really solid.

"Everyone knows my relationship with Jimmy," Manuel said. "But he's not here because of that. He's here to contribute to our team in a positive way, both on and off the field."

The 2012 season will be the 22nd of Thome's illustrious career. He played in the World Series in 1995 and 1997, but still doesn't have a ring. Winning the World Series would seem to fill the only void left in Thome's career.

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Since: Aug 26, 2011
Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:28 pm

Report: Jim Thome signs with Phillies

NIce its my second favorite team, I was hoping he would finish his career with Cleveland

Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:09 pm

Report: Jim Thome signs with Phillies

Psyched about that. This is the best case scenario. I still remember him blasting homers in the derby. Good to see him back.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 4, 2011 7:55 pm

Report: Jim Thome signs with Phillies

Nice to have him back, until he gets a few at bats and doesn't get the job done, he will be fine.  My guess is that this move signifies probalems at 1B all season.  Howard will not be 100% in 2012, which spells trouble for a team that already has trouble hitting.  It's never a good thing when your 4-hole hitter doesn't hit.  The Phillies need to move on and grab Reyes.  

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: November 4, 2011 7:49 pm

Report: Jim Thome signs with Phillies

It's 1st base, I think Thome can play it in his sleep. Easily long enough to get Howard healthy. And who knows, his play might easily split more time between the two players. While Howard is on the mend, it's definitely a great thing, shouldn't be an issue when he ciomes back. Howard has been pretty much the guy over the last couple of seasons to carry when Utley, Rollins & Polanco have all gone on the DL for extended periods.

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: November 4, 2011 7:42 pm

Report: Jim Thome signs with Phillies

Get ready White Sox, this has all appearances of Thome's farewell tour and after a year in Philly, he'll next be headed your way. Way to go Jim, you're a class act and I wish you all the best in 2012.

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