There’s a statue of Jim Thome being built outside the Indians’ ballpark, but the 42-year-old slugger is still trying to avoid retirement despite an apparent lack of interest from all 30 teams.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is one of Thome’s closest friends and told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
He still thinks he can play. He misses the game. Baseball is his identity. That’s all he’s done for 20-some years or so. He’s kind of having a hard time adjusting.
Based on his performance last season Thome could still add some value to a team as a part-time designated hitter and bench bat, but roster spots for that type of role are awfully limited and he’s been unsuccessfully looking for a gig for months now. Part of the problem is that Thome reportedly wants a big-league contract rather than working his way back to the majors on a minor-league deal, but whatever the case there’s been essentially zero rumblings of him drawing interest.
Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.
Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.
Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.