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.
The Twins would love to bring Jim Thome back for another season, but he has at least one other serious suitor. The Rangers also are pursuing Thome, a source familiar with the discussions said today.
Thome, 40, batted .283 with 25 home runs and 59 RBI for the Twins last year in 108 games. He needs just 11 more home runs to reach 600 for his career.
Asked if anything had changed regarding the Twins' interest in re-signing Thome, General Manager Bill Smith said, "No, we still hope to sign him."
Vladimir Guerrero helped the Rangers reach the World Series last year, primarily as their DH, but he's also a free agent, and the team doesn't plan to re-sign him. When the Rangers signed third baseman Adrian Beltre, they decided Michael Young would be their primary DH.
The righthanded hitting Young and the lefthanded hitting Thome would give the Rangers quite a platoon. If the Twins don't re-sign Thome, they'll still have Jason Kubel as their DH, but Thome gave them invaluable depth last season, especially when Justin Morneau was lost to a concussion injury.
Thome made just $1.7 million with the Twins last year, and there have been rumblings that his price went up when Lance Berkman signed his one-year, $8 million deal with the Cardinals. In early December, Thome's agent said he was interested in playing one or two more years.
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