Jim Thome sits eighth on the all-time career home run list with 589 dingers. And now it sounds like he might catch Sammy Sosa (609) at seventh before his playing years are through.
The veteran designated hitter told the St. Paul Pioneer Press after Saturday’s ALDS loss that he plans on returning for the 2011 season.
“Yeah, I think I’m going to come back,” he said.
Thome, 40, posted an excellent .283/.412/.627 batting line and 25 homers in just 276 at-bats this year. It’s safe to assume that he has interest in rejoining the Twins, but his free agent value will be pretty high and a number of teams will be on the hunt for power this winter.
Thome signed a bargain-rate $1.5 million contract with Minnesota last offseason after the White Sox decided to let him walk. The Twins won the American League Central but were eliminated in the ALDS this weekend by the Yankees.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.