One of the more interesting debates that will occur six or seven years from now is the question of whether or not Jim Thome is a Hall of Famer?
Thome has all the stats you look for in a HOF’er. He has well over 500 home runs (564 to be exact), he is fifth all-time in HR/AB (13.7), 10th in walks (1,619), and 20th in OPS (.961). Those are some pretty impressive credentials.
But with only one, top-five finish in MVP voting during his career, plus playing in the steroid era, I am not sure how much love Thome will get on his first shot at the HOF.
I have the same take on Thome that I had with Barry Larkin. Yeah, the numbers might be there over a long period of time, but I never viewed either as a HOF player. I have never watched Thome play and say “There is an all-time great.”
Thome is like Fred McGriff, but with more home runs. McGriff only received 21.5 percent of the vote in this past HOF vote.
The reason I am bringing this up, is because yesterday Thome will be given another chance to add to his resumé. The Minnesota Twins inked Thome to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Thome can earn another $700,000 in incentives.
This is a pretty sweet deal for the Twins. Despite already having a DH in Jason Kubel, the signing of Thome does give the Twins some options.
Thome’s main role will be a power source off the bench, but he could also DH against right-handed pitching. Thome hit 18 of his 23 home runs last year off of righties. The Twins could then move Kubel to left field and put Delmon Young on the bench.
I am kind of surprised there wasn’t more of a market for Thome this offseason. I know he is 40 and only is a DH at this point, which limits his options, but he was having a pretty legit year with the Chicago White Sox in 2009 before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and just rotted on the bench.
With the White Sox, Thome hit .249 with 23 home runs and a .377 OBP in 107 games. A team like the Seattle Mariners could have certainly used Thome as a full-time DH in 2010. I would rather him getting regular AB’s at this point than Ken Griffey Jr.
This will be Thome’s third stop in the American League Central. He played with the Cleveland Indians from 1991-2002 and for the White Sox from 2006-2009. Perhaps next year he can choose between the Detroit Tigers or the Kansas City Royals so he can play for every team in the division.
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