Jim Thome turned down more money from the Rangers to re-sign with the Twins for just $3 million in upfront cash, but Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has the details on the contract’s incentives:
* $200,000 for 200 plate appearances
* $300,000 for 300 plate appearances
* $300,000 for 350 plate appearances
* $300,000 for 400 plate appearances
Add it all up and Thome can earn $1.4 million in potential incentives, which would push the total value of the contract to $4.4 million. However, he received just 340 plate appearances last season even after seeing his role expanded significantly by Justin Morneau’s season-ending concussion, so reaching 350 or 400 plate appearances this year to trigger the final $600,000 in bonuses isn’t likely.
Mark Simon of ESPN.com crunched the numbers on Thome’s domination of right-handed pitching and found that Thome has the third-highest OPS in baseball versus righties during the past five seasons, behind only Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard. And he was as great as ever against right-handers last year, clobbering them to the tune of .302/.455/.698 to rank second in the league behind MVP winner Josh Hamilton. Not a bad guy to keep for a maximum of $4.4 million.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: