The Hot Stove is off and running.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the Phillies and Jim Thome have agreed on a one-year contract, pending a physical. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com was told by a source that the veteran slugger will receive $1.25 million.
Thome, who currently sits at eighth place on the all-time list with 604 career homers, batted .256/.361/.477 with 15 homers, 50 RBI and an .838 OPS over 324 plate appearances this season between the Twins and Indians. He previously played with the Phillies from 2003-2005 before being traded to the White Sox in the deal that brought Aaron Rowand to Philadelphia.
The 41-year-old Thome provides an interesting insurance policy at first base for Ryan Howard, who is coming off surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles. However, it’s worth noting that he hasn’t started a game there since 2007 and hasn’t played there regularly since his last stint in Philadelphia. Simply put, if all goes according to plan, he’ll likely function as a left-handed bat off the bench. Now reunited with Charlie Manuel, this is mostly about giving him his best chance at finally getting a World Series ring.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.