Jim Thome brought his veteran presence into the Baltimore Orioles locker room during the team’s first postseason run in 15 years. The 42 year old hit .257/.348/.396 with 10 home runs in 28 games with the O’s. Buck Showalter spoke highly of Thome — as did a number of his young teammates in Baltimore.
Thome’s future remains uncertain. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports that Thome spoke with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel earlier this week. “I think if somebody shows interest in him, he might [return],” Manuel said. “You know, I think he’s one of those guys who is having a hard time trying to leave.”
Manuel’s Phillies coaxed Thome out of a potential retirement a year ago with a one-year, $1.25 million contract. But when Thome’s bid to play first base with regularity for the first time since 2005 did not go as planned, he was shipped back to the American League when the Orioles acquired him for Minor Leaguers Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon in June. A herniated disk in his neck limited Thome to just 28 games with the O’s. For the season, he hit .252 with eight homers, seven doubles and 25 RBIs in 58 games.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette hasn’t spoken with Thome, but complimented him earlier this week. If he still has a desire to play, he could certainly help the Orioles as a power bat off the bench. He’s a guy that pitchers have always feared.