spectacular season in a part-time role: 25 homers in just 340 plate appearances and his highest batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage since 2006. It was a great investment for the Twins.
Thome becomes a free agent again after the World Series, and the speculation is that it will take $4 million to sign him.
|Jim Thome provided plenty of memories for Twins fans|
in 2010, few of them better than his walk-off homer
off Matt Thornton on Aug. 17.
He had a big year, yes -- but how likely is a 40-year-old with a bad back to repeat a 1.039 OPS?
Most important, few teams are going to pay $4 million for a half-time player. And between the need to protect his chronic back and the need to hide him against southpaws, he's a half-time player.
He knows it. The Twins know it. Even though the baseball media these days routinely says he became the regular DH after Justin Morneau's injury, the reality is that he never started more than four days in a row and that when he did put a few starts together, he quickly sat for about the same number of games.
The Twins may not be the only team interested in him on a part-time basis. But given his apparent preference for a midwest team, the implausibility of a fit with a National League team, and the equal implausibility of a fit with a noncontender, the most likely competitor for his services would appear to be, again, the White Sox, who turned him down last offseason because they wanted more flexibility on their roster.
The Sox may have a different view of things this winter, but they have budget issues of their own. Again, it's difficult to see them doing $4 million for a part-time bat.
The Twins would be wise not to go overboard in their bidding to retain him.