We haven’t heard much about Jim Thome since the Indians stopped pursuing him a few weeks ago, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com talked to the future Hall of Famer and has an update.
Basically he’d like to play this season but doesn’t have any interested teams right now, so the 42-year-old is heading to Arizona to work out and be prepared.
“My plan is to kind of stay in shape and see what happens,” Thome told Rosenthal. “If a team calls for me, mentally, I want to know I’m ready to go.”
Because he’s strictly a designated hitter and has often needed regular days off to avoid injuries Thome’s market has been limited for several years–at least compared to his production–and now that he’s shown signs of slowing down as a hitter last season the market may have totally dried up.
Which is a shame, because Thome is still an above-average hitter with power and patience, and is universally regarded as a helluva nice guy too. If he wants to play a 23nd season I’d love to see him land a part-time gig, but it’s not looking likely.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.