The Phillies signed veteran slugger Jim Thome to a one-year contract on Friday. It carries a $1.25 million base salary, but the 41-year-old can earn another $250,000 through performance-based incentives.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Thome will get $50,000 if he reaches 175 plate appearances, another $50,000 if he makes 200 plate appearances, and so on, and so on, up to 275 total PAs.
Thome has topped 320 plate appearances in 15 of his last 16 seasons, but all but three of those were played in the American League, where he could serve as the designated hitter. He won’t have that luxury in Philadelphia, and the Phillies have no plans to give him regular looks at first base.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.