The Rangers are interested in Jim Thome

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Buster Olney reports that the Rangers are “actively trying to lure” Jim Thome to Texas.  I think all teams who negotiate with players are “actively trying to lure” them, but thank you to Buster for livening up the vocabulary on this Monday afternoon.

Thome would be an interesting fit in Texas. Like all big power hitters, you figure he’d love to mash taters in the Ballpark at Arlington.  With Michael Young hitting against lefties and Thome against righties, the Rangers would likely get more production from the DH slot than anyone next season (Young will get plate appearances from other positions too).  It’d be a great signing if the Rangers can “lure” him.

The only question is price. Thome says he wants to make up for what he didn’t make last season, when he was a bargain at $2 million.  Given that the Rangers paid Vlad Guerrero $5.5 million this past year, it’s not like they have some unlimited DH budget.  Of course, they’re gonna sell a lot more tickets in 2011. And Thome could be a difference maker for them.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.

Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.

All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.