Not as some philosophical subject, but a a DH: Terry Pluto reports that, in the wake of Travis Hafner heading to New York, the Indians are still considering the 42 year-old Jim Thome for their DH/tater-mashing job.
Thome hit .252/.344/.442 with eight homers, 25 RBI and a .786 OPS in 186 plate appearances with Philly and Baltimore last year, but he also suffered from some back and neck injuries that he now claims are healed.
More interesting fodder from that article: Pluto reminds us that Manny Ramirez — who some Tribe fans would like to see back in Cleveland — will be paid $13 million by baseball teams this year. $11 million he’s still owed from the Dodgers and $2 million from the Red Sox who are paying him deferred money for 25 years going back to his last deal there.
Just a little factoid to keep in your back pocket to aggravate your anti-Manny friends at some point later this year.
The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.
The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.
Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.