Pull out the old jersey; a familiar face is back in red pinstripes.
MLB.com Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki announced that the Phillies have agreed to a one-year deal with Jim Thome. Pending a physical on Saturday, the deal is expected to be around $1.25 million.
During the 2002-2003 offseason, Thome was the biggest name on the market. The Phillies opened the bank and signed Thome to a six-year, $85 million deal. The acquisition of Thome brought a lot of excitement and anticipation to the Philadelphia region.
This year’s addition of Thome may not create that same excitement, but it makes sense for the Phillies and Thome. In perhaps his final season, Thome will get a shot at his first World Series championship. Serving as a designated hitter, Thome has not had a defensive appearance since 2007, but it is possible he could see time at first base with the injury to Ryan Howard. Regardless, Thome serves as a powerful left-handed bat off the bench.
Thome played three seasons with the Phillies from 2003-2005. Thome was traded to the White Sox in exchange for Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez, and two minor leaguers. During his tenure in Philly, Thome batted .260 with 96 home runs.
One of Thome’s most memorable moments with the Phillies was his 400th career home run. Thome hit his 600th last season with the Minnesota Twins. He is only four away from his 100th home run with the Phillies.
Thome, now 41, will reunite with Charlie Manuel, who has been a mentor to him. Manuel managed Thome in both Cleveland and Philadelphia, and the two have maintained a close relationship.
It may not be the biggest signing for the Phillies this offseason, but it is a start. Thome has always been well-liked in the City of Brotherly Love, and it’s great to have him back whether he fills in at first, pinch hits, or simply provides a leadership role in the clubhouse.