Jim Thome is returning to the Phillies on a $1.25 million deal, according to multiple media reports, and longtime Phillies beat writer Jim Salisbury reports that Michael Cuddyer could be next.

Salisbury, who works for Comcast SportsNet out of Philadelphia, has multiple sources telling him the Phillies are in serious pursuit of Cuddyer. The Thome signing would only make it more enticing for Cuddyer, who lives just down the coast in Virginia.

As noted on MLBTradeRumors.com, Cuddyer's righthanded bat would give the Phillies more balance. He could play first base for the Phillies while Ryan Howard is recovering from his ruptured Achilles' injury. And the Phillies could then move Cuddyer to the outfield. Raul Ibanez is a free agent, but the Phillies still have Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Domonic Brown.

We've heard that Cuddyer wants to sign early in the offseason, especially with his wife Claudia pregnant with twins. So it wouldn't be surprising if something happened quickly with Cuddyer, especially if the Phillies make him an offer he can't refuse. You know Cuddyer wants to be with a winner.

The Denver Post recently reported that the Rockies are interested in Cuddyer but aren't sure if they'll meet his price. The Red Sox and Giants also could be in the mix. The Twins would love to bring Cuddyer back, of course, but this is why all bets are off once free agency hits.

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