Jim Thome's coming back! Jim Thome's coming back! Jim Thome's coming back!
Did you hear? Jim Thome is coming back to the Twins. I take some credit for that. On Friday morning, I wanted an undershirt for my sweater (it's freaking freezing in my office -- layers are essential). So I pulled out my "Thome is My Homey" t-shirt, thought to myself "today is going to be special," put it on, and went happily to work (really).
During my mid-morning coffee break, I checked in on Twitter, and saw some some ridiculous rumor that the Twins were interested in Manny Ramirez and the fans reacting to that rumor. I was slightly amused, moderately repulsed, and not at all worried. I knew he wasn't a good fit for the Twins, even though a right-handed pinch hitter would be a bonus. I believed in the power of the TIMH shirt.
Sure enough, during the lunch hour, the news of Thome's signing hit the internet. And all was right with the world again. Word was that he turned down quite a bit of money from the Rangers in order to stay with the Twins. Minnesota is closer to his family in Chicago, and he really seems to like his teammates.
Even though the Twins line-up is heavily left-handed, I think signing Thome is much, much smarter than signing the right-handed Manny. Although Manny can be a very good hitter with lots of power, he does have a history of giving up when he doesn't feel like trying hard. I also think he's glory days are behind him; just look at his time with the White Sox -- he did n.o.t.h.i.n.g.
More importantly, however, most fans want to like the players on their favorite teams. Thome is clearly a fan favorite who is eager to play for his team and do whatever he can to win. Manny will have to overachieve in order to develop a big fan base, and he'll never sway some fans (like me) no matter how many homeruns he hits. Most fans will take slightly less performance for a truly likable guy. And I'm certain that Thome is still the better of the two performance-wise. Mark my words, Thome will help win a lot more games than Manny ever could.
So, yay! I think you should get your own "Thome Is My Homey" shirt. You'll never know what could happen when you wear it.
The Twins and Alexi Casilla avoided arbitration Sunday and agreed to an $865,000 contract. He's the third arbitration-eligible player to agree, along with Pat Neshek and Jason Repko. There are five left to complete: Glen Perkins, Matt Capps, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, and Delmon Young.
Off-season crocheting update: here is a scarf I made for the Scarves for Special Olympics project. The deadline to mail to Team Minnesota is in February; I hope to be able to make another one in time.