• September 21, 2023

Phillies Bring Back Thome, In Pursuit Of Cuddyer

With baseball’s free agency period underway, Ruben Amaro Jr. has wasted no time in implementing his plan to improve the team. The Phillies made their first significant move of the offseason yesterday by signing free agent Jim Thome to a one-year contract.

Thome returns to the team that he spent three years with from 2003-2005. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox before the 2006 season once it became apparent that Ryan Howard was going to be the long-term answer at first base. The 41-year old has also spent time with the Dodgers, Twins, and Indians since he left Philadelphia.

Thome will likely platoon at first base with John Mayberry Jr. until Howard is ready to play. He’s only played 28 innings in the field since 2005, so it isn’t clear how much the team will lean on the veteran in the field during Howard’s absence. He also represents an upgrade on the bench over Ross Gload, who is unlikely to be retained following this move.

The other significant news regarding the Phillies has to do with their interest in one of Thome’s recent teammates, Michael Cuddyer. According to reports, the Phillies are in “serious pursuit” of the 33-year old.

Cuddyer is primarily an outfielder, but can also play first and third base. He hit .284 with 20 homeruns and 70 RBIs for a terrible Minnesota team in 2011. His versatility would be an asset for the Phillies. The team can’t count on Placido Polanco to be an everyday third baseman anymore, and they have a hole in left field with Raul Ibanez no longer under contract and Domonic Brown seemingly set for another year in the minor leagues. Cuddyer’s presence would also help to improve a woefully inconsistent and unreliable offense.

The free agent signing period is only a couple of days old, but it appears that the Phillies are staying aggressive in their pursuit of another World Series title, which is a good sign for fans that still have bitter feelings about the NLDS letdown.

Denny Basens

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November 5, 2011 10:23 am

Thomes a great guy and one of the classiest players in all of Sports.
I am not so sure how effective he can be though as a player in the NL due to his lack of time playing in the field the last 4-5 Seasons and his lack of speed on the base paths… This Phillie IF is already pretty old and limited athlectically and even though Howard has improved his defensive play at 1B the last couple of seasons, Thome would be a downgrade at the 1B Position..Thome would be an upgrade as a Pinch-Hitter in the late Innings but only getting a few At-Bats here and there, I am not sure what he adds since he really can’t play anywhere else in the field and can’t run very well..
I expect Mayberry Jr to play a lot of 1B in Howards absence and if they pick up Cuddyear, then Mayberry probably plays left field while Cuddyear plays 1B. I do like Cuddyear,who is a good locker room player and would offer a lot more versatility than re-signing Ibanez since he can play OF/1B and even 3B in a pinch..

November 5, 2011 12:07 pm

A couple of Possible Free-Agents to puruse

If J Rollins leaves or turns down Phils Offer
SS Y Betancourt from the Brewers (29 Years old with some Power and a very good fielder who is in his prime right now)

OF M Cuddyear from Twins, Lance Nix from Nationals, David DeJesus from the Athletics who are all versatile, and can be good role players as well as Pinch Hitters and Defensive replacements.

3B or IF Depth – W Betiment from the Tigers or E Chavez from the Yankees are versatile, good solid players who are Professional Ballplayers, inexpensive and can spot start, pinch hit and do a lot of little things

Catcher – Ryan Doumit from Pirates, or Gerald Laird from the Cardinals would be nice back-up Catchers to Spell Ruiz once in a while

Left-Handled Relievers (A must for this team to help Bastardo)
Mike Gonzales from the Rangers
George Sherrill from the Braves

If Phils are unable to re-sign Closer Ryan Madson here are some prven Closers that are Free-agents
J Papelbon from the Red Sox , Matt Capps from Twins, J Rauch from Blue Jays, or even J Broxton from the Dodgers could assist the Bullpen

November 5, 2011 2:20 pm

So much for the team getting youger. Thome at 41 can’t play much 1B anymore. Good move nonetheless. Cuddyer would a great pickup. Heath Bell & Betimit will follow.

November 5, 2011 2:42 pm

Certainly an upgrade from gload from the bench

November 5, 2011 7:05 pm

Not so fast Jake,
I believe Gload led the NL in Pinch-Hits last season…
Thome is going from DH and getting 4-5 AT Bats every game 4-5 times a week in recent years to getting 4-5 At Bats in a week if he is coming off the bench as a PH.. It’s a huge adjustment.. Give Thome 20-25 At Bats a week and he’ll get you 5-7-10 good At-Bats.. Give him 4 or 5 At Bats a week, who knows..

November 6, 2011 12:32 am

I like the signing, but I would keep Gload too. Ross Gload had hip issues all year. If he’s healthy, he’s one of the better pinch hitters in the league.