Jim Thome says he’s not retired yet

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Most players of a certain stature announce their retirement. Not all. Jim Thome is sort of letting retirement happen to him, though not 100% willingly. He was on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show this morning and said that he’s not officially retired and has not ruled out a comeback.

I suppose it’s entirely possible that Ruben Amaro gives him a call, but barring that Thome’s career is over. And it was damn fine enough career that Thome is 100% allowed to talk about comebacks and do whatever the heck else he wants, be it continue to serve as a White Sox special assistant or mash taters on some high school field someplace.

And, of course, to enter the Hall of Fame when he’s eligible in 2018. Assuming the writers don’t bollocks up the voting.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).