Ron Gardenhire wants the Twins to sign Jim Thome

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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.

Mariners acquire Nick Rumbelow from Yankees

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The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.

The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.

Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.

Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.