According to Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Twins have inked Jim Thome to a one-year contract. LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that the deal is worth $1.5 million with another $700,000 available through performance-based incentives.
Thome, who turns 40 near the end of the 2010 season, hit .249/.366/.481 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI last year in 362 at-bats between the White Sox and Dodgers. He will struggle to find playing time in Minnesota but he brings a significant amount of pop to a Twins bench that lacked just that last season. CTB’s own Aaron Gleeman broke down the big man’s potential value in a post last week.
If manager Ron Gardenhire really wants to get creative this year, he can slide usual designated hitter Jason Kubel out to left field and use Thome as the DH against some right-handed pitchers. Delmon Young would then be benched. Whatever the scenario, there’s no doubting that the Twins just got a little bit better, and for a relatively low cost.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.