Jim Thome has a job waiting for him with the White Sox when he retires

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41-year-old Jim Thome isn’t done mashing taters off big league pitchers, but he has a job waiting for him when he retires.

According to Chuck Garfen of CSNChicago.com, White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said at SoxFest last night that he and Thome have a handshake deal for the veteran slugger to work for the team when his playing career is over.

“When he left here to go to the Twins (in 2010), we kind of shook hands and agreed that, whenever his career is over, he’ll come back to the White Sox in some capacity,” Reinsdorf said. “He did say that he wants to live in Chicago. Whenever it’s over, hopefully I’ll see him back here. And I hope I live to see him go into the Hall of Fame.”

“Anything he wants,” Reinsdorf said. “I’d like to see him come to spring training, work with the young players. He’s a great role model. He really understands hitting. This is not just a guy who goes up there with a bat and swings. He understands hitting. We’ve talked about hitting a lot. He understands it. There’s a lot that he can impart. Just being around, you know. If he goes on to be a big league coach, that would work too.”

Thome was mentioned as a possibility for the White Sox hitting coach job prior to signing a one-year, $1.25 million contract with the Phillies in early November. The club has since hired former major-league infielder Jeff Manto to join Robin Ventura’s staff.

Thome currently sits in eighth-place on the all-time list with 604 career home runs. He doesn’t figure to get many at-bats with the Phillies this season, but Sammy Sosa (in seventh place with 609 career home runs) is within striking distance.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.