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.
Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.
The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.
Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”