Jim Thome may be chasing his first
World Series ring with the Dodgers, but that doesn’t mean he’s put
Chicago behind him. The native-Illinoisan would welcome a return to Chicago:
”I’ll be honest, I would still love to come back,” Thome said,
tightening the blue batting gloves on each hand. ”I still care about
the city. I mean, we’re going to live there. Chicago’s very fond in my
heart. The time that I spent there, [chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] treated
me great. I guess we’ll deal with that when this is all over with.”
Thome, 39, will be a free agent this offseason. He hopes to have
that elusive World Series ring on order once he files for free agency.
But either way, he knows his days with the Dodgers are numbered.
…But if the Sox say no, Thome seems determined to make a return to the
American League Central and his next call likely would be to the —
brace yourself — the defending division-champion Twins.
This is pure speculation on Chris
De Luca’s part, of course, but the future Hall of Famer should have no
shortage of suitors now that he will be free of the seven-year, $85
million contract he signed with the Phillies in 2002. Equally enticing
will be his chase with history. Thome’s 564 home runs rank 12th
all-time. He is just five home runs behind Rafael Palmeiro for 11th
all-time. If he hits at least 20 home runs next season (something he
has done in 15 of his last 16 seasons) Thome would crack the top 10.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.