Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that the Indians will unveil a statue of Jim Thome on August 2. Thome, who still has not officially retired, has hit 612 home runs over a 22-year Major League career. 337 of them came in 13 seasons with the Indians between 1991-2002 and a second stint in 2011.
Hoynes describes the statue as featuring Thome doing his patented bat-point (seen in the image to the right), which Thome says he adopted upon a suggestion from Charlie Manuel, a hitting coach in the minors at the time. Manuel saw Robert Redford do it in “The Natural”.
Thome can be found in the top-ten on a multitude of Indians franchise leaderboards for offensive stats. Most noteworthy, he leads the franchise with 337 dingers, followed by Albert Belle with 242. He also has the third-highest OPS (.980) behind Manny Ramirez (.998) and Shoeless Joe Jackson (.983).
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.