We haven’t heard much about Jim Thome since the Indians stopped pursuing him a few weeks ago, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com talked to the future Hall of Famer and has an update.
Basically he’d like to play this season but doesn’t have any interested teams right now, so the 42-year-old is heading to Arizona to work out and be prepared.
“My plan is to kind of stay in shape and see what happens,” Thome told Rosenthal. “If a team calls for me, mentally, I want to know I’m ready to go.”
Because he’s strictly a designated hitter and has often needed regular days off to avoid injuries Thome’s market has been limited for several years–at least compared to his production–and now that he’s shown signs of slowing down as a hitter last season the market may have totally dried up.
Which is a shame, because Thome is still an above-average hitter with power and patience, and is universally regarded as a helluva nice guy too. If he wants to play a 23nd season I’d love to see him land a part-time gig, but it’s not looking likely.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.