Jim Thome Returns to Phillies, Michael Cuddyer Also Being Pursued

Jim Thome may be 41 years old, but his career is not ending yet. The first baseman/DH has signed a one-year deal with the Phillies and will return to the city where he played three years earlier in his career.

Thome’s deal is for $1.25 million and he’ll give the Phillies a left-handed power bat off the bench. With Ryan Howard recovering from a torn tendon in his heel, Thome could even see time at first base.

Jim made his Major League debut in 1991, so it’s nothing short of astonishing that he’s still playing. He’s actually producing too; Thome hasn’t posted lower than an .838 OPS since 2006. The signing also marks the second time that Thome has returned to a team where he played earlier in his career. When he was traded to Cleveland mid-season, he returned to the Indians for whom he played from 1991-2002. Thome played for the Phillies between 2003-2005.

The Phillies are also reportedly pursuing Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer was drafted by the Twins in 1997 and has played for them since 2001. He just completed a three-year $24 million extension and could be looking to make slightly more than $8 million per season.

Cuddyer was one of the few Twins able to hit at spacious Target Field last season (he hit half of his 20 homers at home), and his versatility is an asset. He saw action at first, second, and right field last season. He also has experience playing third base. He’s a valuable player to have on your team, but it will be tough to expect the same production he had last season for each season of a multi-year contract.

Michael Cuddyer Throws Scoreless Inning for Twins in Blowout Loss (Video)

The Twins got spanked by the Rangers Monday night 20-6, but the good news is their embarrassing defeat allowed us the opportunity to see Michael Cuddyer pitch. Cuddyer, who has played first, second, and right field for the Twins this year, made his first career appearance as a pitcher and he did pretty well.

Throwing a pretty flat fastball in the upper-80s, Cuddyer gave up two hits and a walk but he escaped a bases loaded jam by getting Elvis Andrus and David Murphy to pop out. Unlike Mike Napoli who hit a double in the gap to leadoff the inning, Andrus and Murphy seemed over-anxious and were out in front of the ball. Give Cuddyer some credit — he had a nice, smooth motion, easy delivery, and he threw hard. Jamie Moyer wishes he had Cuddyer’s fastball that ranged from 86-89. If Joe Nathan struggles again, Ron Gardenhire will have another option to finish games.

Bad Day to be Cuddyer, Worse to be Garland, Suicide Watch for Guillen

That was just the sort of embarrassing loss that could put people over the edge. After all, how often is it that your team gives up a 20 spot — in baseball no less. And how often is it that your team scores 14 runs, yes 14, only to lose? Not often is my guess. That’s why it was truly a crappy day for the White Sox. But here’s something I’m going to need some help with. How do you leave a pitcher in long enough to give up 12 runs — 11 earned?

I guess all you have to do is look one line further in the boxscore to find out. Rather take your chances with Garland than whatever schlub they had in the pen who was about to come in for the long relief and give up an additional six runs in three and a third.  So for Garland, probably the worst outing of his career — 12 runs, 11 earned over three and a third. His ERA jumped from 3.15 to 3.92 in one freaking game. That’s really bad. Like Ozzie says, if he doesn’t have anyone in his pen who can do the job, to whom does he turn?Â

Another thing to check out. Michael Cuddyer. How much does it suck when your team bangs out 20 runs, and you go 0-for-6. Those are the types of games that pad your stats for the entire week. Not Cuddyer. Everyone on the team is probably happier than shit, and he’s over in a corner in the dugout watching video wondering how he took an ofer.Â

Which brings me to last but not least, Ozzie Guillen. This game was probably a microcosm of the entire White Sox season.  Whatever can go wrong did go wrong.  Your offense finally wakes up, but then it’s your most reliable pitcher who gets blown up. As does the bullpen. And your fielding? Five errors. Pfffh. I’m sure Ozzie enjoyed that show. Anywhoo, I’m usually not one to break down the significance of individual games in a 162-game-season, but if I know anything, I’d guess that this was the final straw for the White Sox. This was an embrassing loss. I can’t wait for the post-game Guillen fireworks. They should be exciting! Now, imagine if they lose the second game of the double-header. Now THAT would be incredible.