Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jim Thome? Really?

The Chicago Sun-Times suggests that Jim Thome (left) — he of the 564 career home runs, about half of them against Minnesota (not really) — has the Twins fairly high on his wish list for next season.

I can't quite see it. The Jason Kubel-in-right-field thing going on now is strictly, and obviously, because Justin Morneau can't play. Next season, when Morneau's healthy, he's back at first, and Michael Cuddyer's back in right, and Kubel's back at DH. Which leaves no room for Thome.

I suppose it's possible Delmon Young could be moved on out — perhaps his second half success (.300/.322/.502) has created a market for him — but it's difficult to imagine this organization valuing a 39-year-old without a position over a 24-year-old outfielder. It's more likely that Young's second half has convinced the organization that he's about to blossom.

The story makes it clear that Thome's first choice is the White Sox, and I rather expect him to wind up there. I find the notion that the Sox might go with Scott Podsednik at DH to get speed in the lineup perplexing.

Speed is better than slow because speed has a defensive function. There's a reason DH's don't hit leadoff; if you can run, you're going to find a place to play in the field. DH is a place to hide a sluggardly slugger.

But Chicago has budget issues after adding Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. It may be a lot easier to fit Mark Kotsay in their financial scheme than Thome.

We'll see this winter. Right now, Thome's got a job as the highest-paid pinch hitter in baseball history — and waiting to DH again should the Dodgers reach the World Series.

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