Twins ink Jim Thome to one-year contract

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thome smiling.JPGAccording to Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Twins have inked Jim Thome to a one-year contract.  LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that the deal is worth $1.5 million with another $700,000 available through performance-based incentives.

Thome, who turns 40 near the end of the 2010 season, hit .249/.366/.481 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI last year in 362 at-bats between the White Sox and Dodgers.  He will struggle to find playing time in Minnesota but he brings a significant amount of pop to a Twins bench that lacked just that last season.  CTB’s own Aaron Gleeman broke down the big man’s potential value in a post last week.

If manager Ron Gardenhire really wants to get creative this year, he can slide usual designated hitter Jason Kubel out to left field and use Thome as the DH against some right-handed pitchers.  Delmon Young would then be benched.  Whatever the scenario, there’s no doubting that the Twins just got a little bit better, and for a relatively low cost.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.