Twins bring back Thome on the cheap

The Minnesota Twins have finalized a deal to bring back designated hitter Jim Thome on a one-year deal worth $3-million.

Thome surprised people last year with a slash line of .283/.412/.627 and 25 HR at the age of 39/40.  Now he’ll come back on a deal that is significantly more economical than many of his counterparts.

We probably shouldn’t forget that the Twins were a light version of the Rays before the Rays were good.  They seem to contend year after year despite a small budget.  Mind you, that has changed in recent years with the Twins entering middle-financial-power status with yearly success and a new stadium; and they play in a much easier division than the Rays.

Still, it’s deals like this along with solid drafting that sticks to a plan with fantastic player development and scouting that keep the Twins competitive every year.

While other teams pay players like Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Victor Martinez, Adam LaRoche, and even Edwin Encarnacion more money, the Twins bring back a (hopefully) future Hall-of-Famer for a low-risk $3-million deal.

Now, I know that Thome is 40 years-old and could rapidly decline, but he showed last year that he can still get it done.  Let’s play a little ‘guess that player’.

(DL)Player A: .260/.347/.428, .775 OPS, 19 HR, 80 RBI, 2.0 WAR

(AL)Player B: .261/.320/.468, .788 OPS, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 2.1 WAR

(MR)Player C: .298/.409/.460, .869 OPS, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 1.6 WAR

(VM)Player D: .302/.351/.493, .844 OPS, 20 HR, 79 RBI, 4.0 WAR

(CP)Player E: .196/.325/.407, .732 OPS, 28 HR, 84 RBI, 1.0 WAR

(JT)Player F: .283/.412/.627, 1.039 OPS, 25 HR, 59 RBI, 3.6 WAR

As you can see, player F leads the way in OBP, SLG, and OPS and is second best in WAR for the 2010 season.  Player F is Jim Thome.

He was easily the best offensive player on that list in 2010.  Player D is really the only comparable player and that is Victor Martinez who just signed a 4yr/$50-million deal to do the same thing Thome will do for $3-million this season in Minnesota: DH.

Player A is Derrek Lee who signed in Baltimore for $7.5-million.  Player B is Adam LaRoche who got a multi-year expensive deal with Washington. Player C is Manny Ramirez who has yet to sign but is sure to get more than $3-million.  Player E is Carlos Pena who inked a $10-million deal with the Cubs.

If Thome’s OPS slumps to even .900, $3-million will still be a huge bargain.

Stats from FanGraphs.

UPDATE: That Dustin guy over at Getting Blanked just barely beat me to the same post…title and all.  We should probably just combine our powers, take over the world and be done with it.

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