Jim Thome recently said that he'd like to play another year of baseball. At 41, it was probably safe to assume that if Thome did sign somewhere, it would be with an American League team where he could serve as a designated hitter.
Not so fast.
The veteran has signed a one-year deal worth $1.25 million, CSN Philly reports. The deal hinges upon Thome passing his physical, which he will take on Saturday.
For Thome, the deal represents a return to the city where he played for three seasons. Thome spent 2003-2005 with the Phillies, where he hit 47 and 42 home runs in his first two seasons before injuries cut short his '05 season, in which he only hit seven home runs.
Thome spent the majority of the last six seasons in the AL, serving primarily as a DH. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009 for the stretch run before signing with the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2010 season. He spent the '10 season and most of '11 with the Twins before he was traded to the Indians before the season ended.
Thome played in only 93 games last season, but he was still able to hit 15 home runs and drive in 40 runs with the Twins and Indians.
He'll presumably play first base and will likely serve at least intially as an insurance policy for incumbent first baseman Ryan Howard. It's unknown whether Howard will be ready this spring after rupturing his Achilles on the final play of the Phillies' season in the NLDS.
Thome's deal with the Phillies also represents one less option for AL teams looking for DH help which may affect the free agency market for Red Sox DH David Ortiz.