La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Initial thoughts on adding Thome

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: January 26, 2010 - 7:05 PM

It's not the perfect fit for the Twins' bench, but adding Jim Thome should help.

Thome can be the guy who gets the big blast in the ninth inning to save the day, or he can be the guy who knocks a starter out of the game in the sixth or seventh. He's someone opponents will have to worry about when they ponder late-inning matchups. (photo, above, courtesy of Marlin Levinson).

Teams already had to check their inventory of lefty relievers for Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Now there's Thome.

I know the Twins have daydreamed about having a threat off the bench. Now they have someone with 564 career homers.

Thome's presence could affect Delmon Young's at bats. Or even a few of Jason Kubel's. But also remember that Justin Morneau was injured the last several weeks of the season, and Thome could get steady time if someone breaks down.

One small correction from our original post: Thome can earn up to 750K in bonuses.

I also have heard that Thome will be in town in time for the Diamond Awards on Thursday night and definitely will be at TwinsFest this weekend,

The Twins could have added a good bat off the bench who could fill in adequately at a couple of positions. But Thome could work out well, in a Rusty Staub kinda way.

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