"Three or four teams" interested in Jim Thome

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Jim Thome headshot.jpgPeter Abraham of the Boston Globe went over the wealth of free agents left on the market earlier this morning.
We’ve covered a couple of them here today, including Joe Crede and Joel
Pineiro, but Scott Merkin of MLB.com passes along word that three or
four teams — including the Rays — have contacted free agent designated hitter Jim Thome. He does so with the caveat that “nothing is contractually-imminent.”

Aside from the “Thinnest rumor of the year,”
we haven’t heard a whole lot about the 39-year-old slugger this winter.
And teams that he would make a great deal of sense for (White Sox,
Rangers, Angels) look to have settled on other options. That said, Thome could be a nice fit as part of a lefty-swinging DH-tandem with Pat Burrell in Tampa.

Thome’s OPS slipped to 847 last season, but he put up an 881 mark and .383 on-base percentage against right-handers. Meanwhile, Burrell has a 916 career OPS and .403 on-base percentage against left-handers, even though he failed to hit a home run in 119 at-bats against southpaws last season.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.