Big Jim is coming back.
Six years after the trade that sent Jim Thome to the Chicago White Sox, heralding the permanent arrival of Ryan Howard, the Phillies have brought the elder slugger back to Philadelphia, signing Thome to a one year, $1.25 million contract (pending physical), per MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.
Thome, who famously joined the 600 home run club in 2011, may serve as the lefty half of a first base platoon, possibly with John Mayberry, and will be a potent first bat off the bench for the Phillies and Interleague Play Designated Hitter. Of course, he has not played any first base since 2007. At all. And that was one game. The last time he played more than three games in the field was 2005, for the Phillies.
It's a nice low-risk move, it'll be great if he can play the field in any way, shape or form.
Thome, 41, posted a .256/.361/.477 line in 324 plate appearances in 2011 for the Twins and Indians, slugging 15 home runs. In 2010, Thome went .283/.412/.627 with 25 homers.
With Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. talking about the team's need to have better at-bats, they're getting one of the best in the business in the clubhouse in 2012 -- Thome's 14.2% walk rate in 2011 would have comfortably beaten out all of the Phillies' regular players. Teach by example, maybe?