Thome’s First Job: Recruiter

It sure sounds like Jim Thome would love Michael Cuddyer to sign with the Phillies, huh?

Thome signed a one-year, $1.25 million contract with the Phillies yesterday, and he was asked if he had spoken with his good friend Cuddyer, whom the Phillies are pursuing in free agency.

“We’ve texted a little bit,” Thome said. “We’ve talked. All I can say about Michael is he’s a great player. He’s a winner. He’s a stand-up guy. I know he’s done a lot of great things on and off the field in Minnesota. Anybody that plays in that organization for a long time, their credibility is instantly high. Any team that gets him is going to gain. He’s a great teammate. I would put Michael as one of my top-five, all-time favorite teammates. No question. He’s up there. He’s a winner.”

Did Cuddyer express any interest in coming to Philly?

“I can’t answer that,” Thome said. “Look, every player that
sees the way the Phillies have done things over the last seven or eight years, they’ve set the bar very, very high. Guys around baseball would love to come here. When you win, you create a lot of good things.”

Did Thome encourage his former teammate to join him?

“I could, yes,” he said. “Absolutely. I’m sure we will talk
going forward.”

You can be certain Thome will be talking to Cuddyer, Charlie Manuel and anybody else who will listen (I’m sure Thome can shoot Ruben Amaro Jr. a few texts). Cuddyer makes sense for a few reasons. He is a right-handed bat that can play the corner infield and outfield positions, although my understanding is he isn’t much of a defensive third baseman. He has a career .343 on-base percentage. His .346 on-base percentage this season would have tied for fourth on the team with Ryan Howard. And one would think his offensive numbers would improve moving from pitcher-friendly Target Field to hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. He also is a high-character, high-energy guy, which the Phillies value.

Of course, Thome can talk until he is blue in the face. If the money isn’t right it won’t happen. But if the money is close maybe Thome can push Cuddyer toward Philly.

12 Comments

What would the addition of Cuddyer do to the Phils other offseason plans?
A lineup would be: Vic, Utley, Pence, Howard/Thome, Cuddyer, Mayberry/Brown, Ruiz, SS? It may prevent Phils bringing back one of Rollins and Madson. At SS its Reyes, Rollins, and then the rest (blah). At closer there are many options even cheaper options. But Cuddyer would move Polanco to super utility player

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From where do you get this Howard/Thome thing? All indications are that Thome is being hired as a pinch hitter. There has been no indication that he is even going to try to hold down 1st base until Howard returns. It bears repeating, Thome is being hired as a pinch hitter. And, from where do you get this idea that if Cuddyer is signed Polanco will be moved to “super utility player”? Everything I have been reading indicates that Cuddyer is desirable because he is the “super utility player”.

pherris, I agree with most of what you posted. You can even add that Ryan has a snowball’s chance in hell of playing in April, which should make Cuddyer the everyday firstbaseman so Junior can concentrate on getting even better at the plate, Polanco is an everyday thirdbaseman….. when he’s healthy, so automatically moving him to a utility bench role is beyond dumb, especially when he’s a hitting machine until he gets hurt.

Thome is going to try to get himself in shape to play firstbase once a week or so. I just hope he doesn’t pull anything or seriously injure himself in the effort.

Zo, congrats on No. 1 ranking in October Latest Leaders across the MLB.com/blogs community. Just posted leaders at http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com and hope your readers will spread the word and start their own WordPress.com-based MLBlog!

Mark/MLB.com

Zo always keeps us informed and entertained. We always appreciate his work, whether it gets recognised or not.

I still wouldn’t be surprized is in order to help preserve Utley’s knees, he moves to 1B until Howard is back. Either Cuddyer or Polanco play 2B (prefer Polanco as it will help rest his back with shorter throw) and the other will play 3B. Yes, it raises issues with paying both Closer and SS, but we need to take a hit somewhere. I’d rather have Galvis at 450K and bat him 8th, (and never see a ball go by him) then spend for multi yrs of Rollins and block Galvis again. ALl indications are that he’s the ss of the future. I like a lineup of 1B Utley, 2B Poly 3B Cuddyer ss Galvis LF Mayberry/Brown CF Victorino RF Pence. When Howard returns either Cuddyer or Poly become the Super U guy. (obviously Ruiz is the C-didn’t bother to even mention it at first)

Galvis has played less than a full season above the single-A level. He may be spectacular, but you’ll not convince me he’s ready to see Major League play with 1/3 of a season at Reading, and 1/4 of a season at Lehigh – either offensively or defensively.

Galvis is probably more ready now than Michael Martinez ever was this past season. That was a joke. He was getting bats knocked out of his hands and wasn’t even very good defensively. Galvis has been ML ready defensively for a while.
Not to say I want him to start in 2012. He needs a full year of AAA at-bats. If they don’t re-sign JRoll, they only need to sign a one year stop-gap.

Martinez was a backup, pure and simple. I’m ok with Galvis being a back-up, but only if we don’t want him to develop into a starter. The only reason we had MM up all season is because he was a rule 5, and we liked his upside. Same with Herndon last year – a move that has apparently paid off, if you trust his stats from this year.
I’d be much more comfortable with Galvis as a 2013 September call-up, so realistically I’d like a 2-year contract, but maybe the SS FA market will look better after 2012, so 1 year could be a good deal… Only problem is there’s no SS FA right now (other than Jose “who broke my leg?” Reyes) with anywhere near Rollins’ defense or offense, which makes any stopgap a problematic proposition, since both sides of the coin will suffer significantly.

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