Reports of the Phillies signing Jim Thome broke Friday evening, as fans flocked to message boards and Twitter to spread the good news.
On Saturday, after Thome passed a physical, the Phillies made it official. The deal is worth a reported $1.25 million, according to CSNPhilly.com and ESPN.
Thome, 41, hit .256 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in a combined 93 games last season for Minnesota and Cleveland. He has 604 career home runs in 21 major-league seasons. Of course, it’s a homecoming of sorts for Thome, who spent three seasons (2003-05) with the Fightin’s.
“We’re very happy to be able to bring Jim back to Philadelphia at this point in his career,” GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said in a statement. “He will be an option for Charlie to use off the bench each night and brings a great attitude to the ballpark every day.”
Thome is also expected to fill in at first base for Ryan Howard at the start of the season. Howard underwent surgery on left Achilles tendon last month and there’s a good chance he could miss Opening Day.
Thome played under Phils skipper Charlie Manuel during his first stint in Philadelphia and has a long-standing relationship with Manuel dating back to their days together in Cleveland.
“Everyone knows my relationship with Jimmy,” Manuel said. “But he’s not here because of that. He’s here to contribute to our team in a positive way, both on and off the field.”