There are several intriguing free agents that are still out there. The one I am most surprised with is Jim Thome. Sure he is 39 years old, but it’s not like he can’t swing the bat. He is an ideal candidate for a DH in the American League. He is a sure fire Hall of Famer, although he has never gotten the credit he deserves. At 38 years old last year, you would think he was putting up Griffey like numbers (0.214/19/57 last season). Instead he had a relatively productive season batting 0.249/23/77 between the White Sox and the Dodgers.
I don’t think that Thome is done, I think he has 1 – 2 more years left in him and as of today, the only team interested is the Twins, and all they want to use him for is a bench player. I realize that many of Jim’s homers were done in the steroid era of baseball, but his body has never broken down like the other steroid users, plus his stats do resemble a bell curve, with his best stats coming in what should have been his peak years. Then the most improtant fact, that his name has never been associated with steroid use.
He has been traded by every team he has been on except the Dodgers. Just when you think he found a permanent home, he is shipped off again. He will go into the season, as he has done the past 19 seasons, that being coming into Spring Training in shape and ready to hit. I think he could be had for $5 million to any team, and he would be more productive than most younger players.
As far as the hobby goes, his autographs for the most part are very inexpensive considering he will be a Hall of Famer. Most of his autographs go for between $25 – $35. Some of the multiple autographed cards (where he signs with Frank Thomas, Ryan Howard or Ken Griffey) go for quite a bit more. The card pictured below is one of my favorites and this one recently went for $26. I do hope that he will be able to find a job for this upcoming season. I have always considered him a high quality player and person in the sport. When he does decide to hang it up, baseball fans will miss him.