AP source: Thome, Phillies agree to one-year contract
By Tom Withers AP Sports Writer CLEVELAND -- Jim Thome took the stage at the City Club on Oct. 25, and spoke in generalities about continuing his career. On Friday, he got a little more specific. Despite being acquired by the Indians for the penn...
By Tom Withers
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND -- Jim Thome took the stage at the City Club on Oct. 25, and spoke in generalities about continuing his career.
On Friday, he got a little more specific.
Despite being acquired by the Indians for the pennant race in August, reuniting the record-setting slugger with a team and city that adores him, Thome agreed Friday to sign a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Thome's $1.25 million, one-year deal with the Phillies -- another of his former teams -- is contingent on passing a physical, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing can be finalized until the 41-year-old takes the medical exam.
Thome, who joined the 600-homer club this past season, said last month he hoped someone would give him another shot at an elusive World Series ring, perhaps the only thing missing from his Hall of Fame-caliber resume.
"I'll keep playing," Thome said. "I just need teams to call me. I can't go play in the backyard by myself. I don't know the demand for a 41-year-old DH, but my passion is I want to continue to play."
Thome's lower back problems have prevented him from playing in the field the past four years, but apparently that's not stopping the Phillies from bringing him back to help them win. Thome, who played from Philadelphia from 2003-05, has remained close with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, his hitting coach for years in Cleveland.
Thome considers Manuel his second father.
Philadelphia, eliminated in the division series by the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, can certainly use his power from the left side, though where -- and if -- he'll play in the field, is a big question. Aside from a symbolic appearance at third base for the Indians in his finale at Progressive Field this season, Thome has not played defensively since 2007. In Philadelphia, Thome could be called upon to play some first base with Ryan Howard recovering from surgery on his left Achilles.
While certainly interested in remaining with Cleveland, Thome set the stage for an exit in the way he answered questions two weeks ago from an audience hoping he would remain a part of the Indians' rebuilding effort.
"In a year or two, this team can do some very special things," Thome said of the Indians, who got off to a 30-15 start last season before injuries caught up to them in September. "They have put the groundwork in, done things the right way."
Thome has a .277 career average with 604 homers and 1,674 RBIs. He is one of just eight players to hit more than 600 homers.