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.
Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.
If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.
Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.
Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.
In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.
Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.