Jim Thome recruits Michael Cuddyer to join him on Phillies


After signing a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the Phillies last week Jim Thome talked to fellow free agent and former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer about joining him in Philadelphia.

Various reports have the Phillies strongly pursuing Cuddyer and Thome told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he tried to help the cause with his own recruiting pitch:

We’ve texted a little bit. We’ve talked. … Look, every player that sees the way the Phillies have done things over the last seven or eight years, they’ve set the bar very, very high. Guys around baseball would love to come here. When you win, you create a lot of good things.

Asked specifically if Cuddyer expressed interest in signing with the Phillies, he replied “I can’t answer that” and then added “I’m sure we’ll talk going forward.”

Cuddyer reportedly turned down a two-year, $16 million extension offer from the Twins in September and now seems likely to get at least twice that much money on the open market despite being a Type A free agent for whom teams would have to surrender a first-round draft pick to sign.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.