Phillies looking for left-handed bench bat, but will Jim Thome or Jason Giambi get to them on waivers?

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Last week the Phillies signed Jack Cust to a minor-league contract as a potential left-handed bench bat, but Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that they’re still looking to add a lefty swinging veteran for the stretch run.

Jim Thome would be the most obvious solution, as he played for the Phillies from 2003 to 2005 and remains very productive in a part-time role for the Twins at age 41, with Minnesota perhaps open to trading the future Hall of Famer after he reached 600 homers Monday.

Another, similar option is Jason Giambi, who said last month that he’d be interested in re-signing with the Rockies for next season even if they traded him this year. Giambi has hit very well in a limited role behind Todd Helton.

They would both represent significant upgrades over Ross Gload and Brian Schneider while giving manager Charlie Manuel a late-inning weapon in the playoffs. Of course, Brookover speculates that other NL teams would put claims in on Thome or Giambi just to block the Phillies from potentially dealing for them, in which case calling up Cust or recalling Dominic Brown might be their best option.

CC Sabathia wants to return to the Yankees in 2018

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CC Sabathia‘s contract is set to expire this offseason, but for the long-tenured left-hander, nowhere feels more like home than New York. “I want to see this through,” Sabathia told reporters after a devastating Game 7 loss in the ALCS. “This is where I want to play.” Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman spoke warmly of the veteran starter, but would make no public guarantees that he’d return to the team next spring.

Sabathia, 37, just topped off his 17th season in the big leagues and his eighth career postseason run. He went 14-5 in 27 starts and put up a 3.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 148 2/3 innings, good for 1.9 fWAR. He looked solid in the playoffs, too, propelling the team to a much-needed win in Game 5 of the ALDS and returning in the Championship Series with six scoreless innings in Game 3. His season ended on a sour note during Game 7, however. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against a dynamic Astros’ offense, allowing one run on five hits and three walks and failing to record a single strikeout for the first time in 23 career postseason appearances.

Heading into the 2017 offseason, Sabathia finally arrived at the end of his seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees. While he’s repeatedly expressed a desire to keep pitching, despite rumors that his career might be on the rocks following the diagnosis of a troublesome degenerative knee condition, the decision isn’t his alone to make. Brian Cashman will also be seeking an extension with the Yankees this winter, so it’s difficult to say which impending free agents the club will try to retain — and Sabathia’s name isn’t the only one on that list. If it were up to skipper Joe Girardi, who is awaiting a decision on his own future with the organization, the decision would be a no-brainer. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for and the great player that he is, the great man that he is,” Girardi said. “The wonderful teammate that he is. How he pulls a team together. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you’re on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time.