Thome’s First Job: Recruiter
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
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.