Jim Thome is looking for work and LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported last week that the Twins had talked to the 42-year-old designated hitter earlier in the offseason.
Toss in the fact that manager Ron Gardenhire recently made it clear that he wants a veteran bat off the Twins’ bench and Thome returning to Minnesota seems like a natural fit. So why hasn’t it happened yet?
Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports that Gardenhire wants the Twins to sign Thome, but the front office has some reservations in part because he’s insisting on a major-league contract.
Minnesota’s roster is well-stocked with first basemen, corner outfielders, and designated hitters as is, so finding Thome regular at-bats would be a challenge, but on my Twins-centric podcast this week we talked about how there isn’t really much downside to choosing Thome for the final bench spot over, say, Drew Butera or a second utility infielder.
If nothing else he might make another non-contending season for the Twins somewhat less painful to watch for Minnesotans.
The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.
Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.
According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.
The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.