Tag: Jim Thome

Jason Giambi Signing Signal No Jim Thome for Indians?

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Cleveland Indians are close to finalizing a minor league deal with former Rockies slugger Jason Giambi.  The contract would also include an invitation to spring training.  

The 41-year-old Giambi will be competing for a spot on the bench as a left-handed designated hitter and would give the Indians depth at first base.  

The 18-year veteran had a dismal year last season, batting .225 with only one home run, eight RBI and seven runs scored in 89 at-bats.  However, this was following a year where he hit .260 with 13 home runs, 32 RBI and 20 runs scored in only 131 at-bats playing part-time off the bench.  

Giambi is a lifetime .280 hitter, with 429 home runs, 1,405 RBI and 1,203 runs scored in 7,021 at-bats.  The former 2000 American League MVP is also a five-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger and has received MVP votes seven times in his career, but has also never won a World Series ring in seven postseason appearances.  

Though Giambi is obviously way past his prime as far as a day-to-day player is concerned, he’ll still add valuable left-handed power off of the bench. If he can stay healthy, will almost certainly reach double digits in home runs, RBI and runs scored.  

However, does Giambi’s signing mean that the Indians will not be pursuing fan favorite Jim Thome?

Even though Giambi’s potential deal comes at very low risk to the Indians, from a fan and marketing perspective, they should have brought Thome back and let him retire in an Indians uniform.  

And though Giambi had a decent 2011 campaign, both he and Thome project to have the same kind of offensive significance going into 2013.  Both are massive left-handed power threats off the bench, so why not sign Thome over Giambi?  

Though fans may be disappointed that Thome will not be returning, this deal can only benefit the tribe if Giambi is able to stay healthy.   

Stay tuned…

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20 Best "Old Guys" in Baseball History

They say that baseball is a young man’s game.

The constant running, training and wear-and-tear placed on a man’s body can be grueling. Over the years, it can cause even the healthiest of men to break down. 

Every so often, there are those players that defy that logic. Some may call it luck, while others consider it good genes; at the end of the day, however, it all boils down to the love of the game.

To take a look at MLB History, there have been numerous players who have managed to stay in the game through their late 30s. At that point, the numbers drop off.

The purpose of this list is to look at those players to managed to play at a high, or fairly high, level after reaching the age of 40.

More so, if they were a position player, they must have put in over 100 games of work. If they’re a pitcher, they must have 100 innings pitched under their belt.

With those caveats in mind, here is a look at the 20 greatest “old guys” in MLB history.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians Must Learn from History to Improve Attendance

Cleveland is a city that is starving for a winner. Unfortunately for Cleveland sports fans the owners of teams are not always on the same page as what the fans would like to see. No team proves this more than the Cleveland Indians.

So far through the 2012 season, the Indians are 44-41 and are dead last in the MLB in attendance. Lately Tribe closer Chris Perez has been spouting off to the Cleveland fans about their lack of loyalty to the team, questioning the city’s blind loyalty to the Browns and lack of support for the Tribe.

Perez makes some good points, but he also needs to realize that his team is just above average right now and are only in the hunt thanks to being in an extremely subpar division. However, that does not explain why Cleveland has not supported the Indians a little bit better this year. In order to better understand what is going on, we must look at the past and see the culture that has led us to this point.

1993 is where we will begin our journey. Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, and Albert Belle were beginning to enter their primes. Looking back on it now, that is a solid trio that laid the foundation for some of the best seasons in Tribe history. This season saw one of the biggest spikes in Tribe attendance history, it went from 15,000 people per game in 1992 to 26,000 in 1993. This started the year where the Indians became a legitimate interest in Cleveland. From there the numbers continuously climbed over the next several years, reaching a point where they sold out 455 consecutive home games between June 1995 and April of 2001 which averaged around 42,000 fans per night. For a small market club that is quite the streak.

There was one common factor during those years that led to the fan support, the team was winning consistently and making the playoffs five consecutive years between 1995 and 1999. Players that had become faces of the franchise included Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, and Sandy Alomar Jr. That would not be the case for long.

Cleveland had slowly begun to gravitate toward baseball even more in the 1990s in part due to the city losing their beloved Browns in 1995. The Indians had capitalized by building a winner that the city could fall back on and embrace. This was shown by that 455 consecutive game sellout that was notched. However, in 1999 the Browns came back to town and not long after that, the Indians lost sight of their  winning ways.


After the 2000 season, Manny Ramirez and Sandy Alomar Jr. left the club and Larry Dolan bought the club from then current owner Richard Jacobs, for whom the stadium formerly known as “Jacobs Field” was named after. To try and soften the blow of losing those players the Indians signed former MVP Juan Gonzalez and Ellis Burks. These players led the Tribe to another AL Central title, but the offseason would prove to be one of the worst in team history.

GM John Hart resigned and his assistant Mark Shapiro took over. In the process of his take over, the club lost Juan Gonzalez and traded away Roberto Alomar. Attendance dropped over 7000 people in 2002 and has since created the losing culture associated around the Cleveland Indians. Then following the 2002 season ,Jim Thome left the team and attendance plummeted as one of Cleveland’s heroes was no longer a part of the city. In less than five years (2000-2004), attendance average dropped over 20,000 people per game.

Between 2002 and 2006 the Indians had their struggles, but their young core of players was on the rise thanks to some savvy trade packages that brought back players like Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Cliff Lee and Coco Crisp. 

In 2007, the young guns finally put it all together and were able to make it to the ALCS, but fell to the Boston Red Sox.  Fans, however, were finally thinking a winning team was back. CC Sabbathia, Cliff Lee, and Fausto Carmona looked like a legitimate rotation and the offense looked like it was for real, causing fans to be cautiously optimistic—raising attendance to 28,000.  Fans were quickly disappointed over the next two years as the team dealt CC, Cliff Lee, and Victor Martinez. Attendance again fell reaching its low point in 2010 with attendance averaging less than 20,000 fans per game.


All in all, the Indians have lost over 20,000 fans per game and have not been over 30,000 fans (over 10,000 less than full capacity) since 2002. For a once dominate and lively stadium, it is a shame to see so few people there on a nightly basis.

The Dolans’ excuse has always been they have been losing money. My question is how much money would they have gotten back if they had only been willing to invest money in their current stars that they have? If they had done that since 2001, they would have, for hypothetical purposes, had roughly 20,000 more fans per game over that 10-year stretch.

If my math is correct, then they would have made—on the low-end—an extra revenue of $16.2 million each season, not including playoff revenue. That, keep in mind, is estimating each ticket at $10 which is extremely low. That in itself would be enough to justify signing many of the core players we had let leave over the years.

For example Jim Thome made $8 million a year in 2002 with Cleveland. He signed a deal with Philly the following year worth $13 million a year. The extra revenue (assuming his previous salary amount, $8 million, would be carried over and then take the additional pay increase from the increased revenue) more than covers the salary and also lets the Dolans profit an extra $11 million—at the same time saving attendance from dropping over 10,000 fans per night.

CC Sabbathia made $11 million in 2008, according to Baseball Reference, and then with the deal he signed with the Yankees he maxes out around $24 million a year. If my math is correct the extra $16.2 milion a year would cover that extra $13 million a year and also would have allowed the Dolans to enjoy an extra $3 million in profit.  

Now these numbers are extremely simplified and I also let the ticket price low to compensate any major differences. If the Dolans would have invested in the team properly they would still be competing with the Browns for dominance in the Cleveland sports heart (Though they will never totally dominate as Cleveland is football first, everything else second city).


Maybe Chris Perez is right, maybe Cleveland does blindly follow the Browns. However, until the Indians become a perennial contender again, there will be no jump in attendance. Cleveland has a cult following to the Browns because it is a football city, and it was deprived of that sport for multiple years. The Indians and ownership must realize that until they invest properly in the team, the attendance will not follow.

Recently, with the acquisitions of Ubaldo Jiminez and re-signing of Carlos Santana, it seems that this current front office understands this concept. Let’s hope that they continue to build on that and see attendance, revenues, and the City of Cleveland rise.

All attendance numbers are courtesy of Baseball Almanac

Follow me on twitter @andrewj2010

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Baltimore Orioles Acquire Jim Thome from Philadelphia Philles for Prospects

The Baltimore Orioles are officially buyers this summer as they acquire 1B/DH Jim Thome from the Philadelphia Phillies.  

The story initially broke when Jim Salisbury of CSN tweeted that a source told him about the possible deal. The deal was officially confirmed in a tweet by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. (h/t SI.com).

Thome, 41, played in 30 games for the struggling Phillies and hit .242/.338/.516 with five home runs and 15 RBI. He will serve as the Orioles’ designated hitter for the rest of the season.The Phillies have been decimated by injuries throughout the season, which equates to their last-place record in the NL East. They were looking for bullpen help but decided to go in another direction.  

Right-handed pitcher Kyle Simon and catcher Gabriel Lino are the two prospects heading to Philadelphia in the trade.

Simon, who was a fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2011, is 3-10 with a 3.63 ERA in 14 starts and 14 appearances. He has spent time in Class-A Aberdeen, Delmarva and Frederick. The California native struggled early to start the season, but has dropped his ERA substantially.  

Lino, 19, has spent all of 2012 with Class-A Delmarva hitting .218/.282/.340 with four homers and 18 RBI in 56 games. The Venezuelan catcher should be a player to watch moving forward in the Phillies system. He has a big frame with power potential.

The Orioles are in second place battling the New York Yankees for first in the AL East. Baltimore has struggled offensively the last couple weeks and hope that Thome can bring depth to their lineup.  

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Philadelphia Phillies Reportedly Trade Jim Thome to Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles are in need of a bat to make a playoff run, and the Philadelphia Phillies have one to spare.

Jim Thome had a good showing playing designated hitter during interleague play, making him an attractive option for American League teams, and according to a tweet from the Orioles, they jumped at the chance to acquire him:

The Phillies were able to swing catcher Gabriel Lino and RHP Kyle Simon in the trade, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Philadelphia Phillies insider Jim Salisbury first reported that the two teams were talking.

At 41 years of age, Thome hasn’t been able to be a consistent producer in the National League. He’d appeared in just 30 games, with a batting average of .242 in 62 at-bats.

However, when he stepped up against more familiar American League pitching in the DH role, Thome flourished.

In nine interleague games, he batted .333 in 36 at-bats. He hit four of his five home runs in those games while adding 14 of his 15 RBI.

The deal is expected to be finalized after the two teams finish play on Saturday.

Baltimore is playing well, but trail the New York Yankees by 4.5 games. They are in a virtual tie with the Los Angeles Angels in the wild card race.

The Orioles have struggled scoring runs this season. They are 10th in the American League in runs scored and 11th in batting average. Their most productive offensive threat is center fielder Adam Jones, hitting .297 with 19 home runs.

Mark Reynolds and Nick Johnson have been manning the DH position, but are hitting .213 and .207, respectfully. They have a combined 10 homers.

Thome should offer some power in the middle of the lineup and assist with run production.

The Baltimore Orioles are in need of a bat to make a playoff run, and the struggling Philadelphia Phillies (36-44) had one to spare.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Philadelphia Phillies: Just Waive Jim Thome Already

In the offseason, with Ryan Howard out for an extended period of time, the Philadelphia Phillies grabbed Jim Thome for $1.25 million. 

That experiment has run its course, and it’s time for the club to part ways with the aging bat.

Here are six reasons why:


1.  He’s hurt

Thome has been on the DL all month with a bad back. In the past, he’s had troubles with his elbow and his legs. Even if comes back in a week or two, whether he will be 100 percent is doubtful.  

2.  He can’t field to save his life

Thome has 137 career errors, and career is 31 total-zone, total-fielding runs below average. He has a career -17.1 defensive wins-above-replacement and has 13 seasons of a dWAR of -0.5 or worse.  

Also, did I mention he has no legs?

3.  Nor can he hit anymore

This season with the Phillies, Thome has gone 2-for-18, hasn’t scored, hasn’t driven anybody in and hasn’t had an extra base hit. He’s had only three home runs and only seven extra-base hits in his last 103 plate appearances.  

4.  Philly already has enough first basemen

Off the top of your head, can you tell me how many people have played first for the Phillies in the last month and a half?

If you said “five,” you’re correct: the other four are Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Hector Luna.

Of those five, the one with the lowest batting average at the position is…Thome.  The only one without an extra-base hit is…Thome.

To be fair, Nix is on the DL, and Mayberry is really more of a converted outfielder, but that still leaves Wiggington, who is batting .308 with 10 RBIs and an .814 OPS when at the first base position.

And journeyman Triple-A callup Luna to back him up rather than Thome.     

5.  Ryan Howard will be back soon

Howard replaced Thome at first base for the Phillies in 2005. Then, Thome replaced Howard at first at the beginning of this season. Howard has begun an extended rehab assignment in Clearwater and will be ready to again replace Thome before the All-Star break, possibly well before.   

6.  It’s time for Thome to retire

Thome will be 42 before the season is over. He hasn’t hit 30 homers since 2008. He hasn’t had 250 total bases or even played 130 games in a season since then either.

In the past seven seasons, he’s fielded a grand total of 55 innings. He’s stolen one base in the last decade. 

He’s either cemented his case for the Hall of Fame, or is at the point where he can’t do anything more to help it?

Bottom line: The Phillies need to waive Jim Thome.

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Baseball Hall of Fame: 10 Current Superstars Who Are Already HOF Shoo-Ins

Growing up, a lot of young men want to be a professional athlete.

With that comes countless hours in the backyard honing your sport and doing a play-by-play with you at the plate, the three-point line as the clock hits zero, or catching a winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.

After that comes the dreams of being a superstar in that sport and becoming one of its best.

Then, comes the speech you’ll give when you’re being inducted into the Hall of Fame. You got through countless drafts as a young kid, dreaming of how cool it would be to live in immortality.

For a few baseball players, that dream will become a reality in just a few short days. They will be announced as the 2012 Hall of Fame class for Major League Baseball, living what most kids dream of.

All through their playing days, some felt they were destined for greatness, while others feel honored to just get Hall consideration.

Undoubtedly, many big-league players will watch or listen to that announcement with much anticipation. Because for many, it’s a dream that they hope becomes a reality for them years down the road. Some, are shoo-ins, some we’re still not sure of.

Here’s a look at the top 10 players who are shoo-ins for the Hall of Fame at this point in their careers.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Are They Interested in Jim Thome or Jason Giambi?

After acquiring Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros just yesterday, it looks like the Philadelphia Phillies have no intentions of slowing down.

Jayson Stark tweeted earlier that the Phillies may be interested in another power hitter, specifically Jason Giambi or former Phillie Jim Thome. The tweet stated:

Next #Phillies move might not be for an arm. Still have interest in HR threat off the bench like Jason Giambi. Even asked on Thome.

When everyone in the lineup is healthy, the current bench players include: Ben Francisco, Brian Schneider, Wilson Valdez, Michael Martinez and Ross Gload.

There isn’t much power there.

Considering Schneider is the backup catcher, the Phillies probably want to replace Gload, who has just six RBI this year with no home runs.

The Phillies were rumored earlier in the week to be interested in Giambi and he “appeared almost certain to go to Philly” according to Troy Renck, who covers the Rockies. But Thome is a brand new name.

Although Giambi and Thome are both 40 years old, I think they would be solid fits for the Phillies. 

Giambi is used to the “bench-power guy” role with the Rockies and has done a great job with it by hitting 10 HR and knocking in 24 runs so far this season.

Thome, on the other hand, has been a valuable DH for the Twins. In just 52 games this year (he suffered an injury this year), he has seven home runs and had 25 last year in just 108 games.

Both of these guys still have some pop in their bat and could become valuable options for the playoffs. Just think of them as playing the same role Matt Stairs did in 2008.

If the Phillies can get one of these guys for cheap, I say go for it. Besides, wouldn’t you want to see Thome hit his 600th home run in a Phillies jersey? 

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MLB 2011 Preview: Derek Jeter, Jim Thome and Ichiro Suzuki Approach Milestones

All eyes will be on Albert Pujols for the next few days until he reports to Spring Training.

If his self-imposed deadline for a new contract comes and goes without an extension being reached with the St. Louis Cardinals, he will rule the headlines for the duration of the season.

Everywhere the Cardinals go, the top questions asked will be, “Where do you see yourself playing next season?” and “is your contract status a distraction?”

Arguably baseball’s best player, Pujols will wind up the top story of the year regardless of what happens on the field with his historic payday fast approaching.

In the meantime, there are three other historic milestones that will be reached at some point during the 2011 season that bear mentioning.

Three players will wind up breaking into some of baseball’s most exclusive clubs this season and so far on the eve of Spring Training, no mention has been given to their impressive feats.


3,000 Hit Club

At just 74 hits shy of achieving his 3,000th career hit, Derek Jeter is assured of reaching this milestone during the 2011 season.

Jeter currently averages 1.27 hits per game over his storied career. The captain of the Yankees will be remembered in history for leading the Yankees to five World Championships and three consecutive World Series Championships in 1998-1999-2000.

Jeter passed Hall of Famer and fellow Yankee Lou Gehrig to become the all-time Yankee hits leader in 2009. He also ranks as the all-time hits leader as a short stop and his career .314 batting average ranks seventh among all active players (76th overall).

Based on his career averages, Jeter should reach the 3,000 hit club around early June.


600 Home Run Club

The second most exclusive club in baseball is set to accept a new member this season when Jim Thome hits his 11th home run of the season.

Thome will be only the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to reach this milestone, behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr (630), Alex Rodriguez (613) and Sammy Sosa (609).

If Thome is able to reach 20 home runs for the season, he will match Sosa for seventh all time. Thome averages a home run approximately every 4.06 games, meaning he should reach the 600 club around mid-May.


400 Stolen Base Club

Ichiro Suzuki is sitting on 383 career stolen bases, leaving him just 17 short of reaching 400 career stolen bases.

While it is a far step away from the career record set by Rickey Henderson (1,406), it is still an impressive accomplishment.

Ichiro has played his entire Major League career in an era that does not value the stolen base compared with other statistics and on-field contributions. Although his career statistics from Japan are not combined with his Major League totals, he also has 220 career stolen bases in Japan’s professional league.

While he currently ranks tied for 80th on the all-time list in MLB steals, his combined total of 603 stolen bases would rank him 18th all time.

Ichiro averages a stolen base approximately every 4.14 games. If he maintains this average, he should reach his 400th stolen base in the middle of June.

Johnny Damon is actually two stolen bases closer than Ichiro to reaching 400 career steals. Entering the season, Damon has 385 career stolen bases.

His speed has decreased the past two seasons, however. After stealing 29 bases in 2008, Damon only managed 12 stolen bases in 2009 and only 11 last season with Detroit.

Damon will come close, but may need to wait until 2012 to celebrate his milestone.


With the three major milestones all presumably reached before the All-Star break, we will have plenty of time to focus our attention back to the Pujols saga.

For three games, however, these future Hall of Fame players deserve baseball’s full attention and ovations.

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MLB Power Rankings: Each Team’s Player Who Least Resembles a Pro Athlete

Nearly ever kid dreams of growing up and becoming a professional athlete. However, this dream does not come true for over 99.9% of children. However, in the MLB, there are numerous players that look like they have no business being a professional. Regardless of their looks or size, these players have proved with their skills that they are deserving of their jobs.

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