The all time leading home run hitter against the Twins now will don the Minnesota pinstripes. The 39 year old Jim Thome has hit 57 of his career 564 home runs against the Twins and has agreed to a one year, $1.5 million dollar contract to play in the new Target Field this upcoming season. He has the possibility of $750,000 more from incentives as well. Once he passes a team physical (he has had back problems in recent years) the contract will be finalized.
What does this mean for the Twins rotation of hitters? It most likely will mean less playing time for slumping Twins hitters. This could translate to Delmon Young spending a lot more time on the bench. I have said it since the Twins got Delmon, "He could break out eventually." I'm not saying it is going to happen; but he has all the potential in the world as a hitter, he just doesn't do anything with it. He definitely does not suck as much as most fans think (my dad in particular). He is just an average ball player. Gardenhire has made a point this off season to let it be known he wants Delmon in the outfield and playing frequently. The Twins Manager must see more potential than the rest of us. At the end of last season Delmon played as good as he ever has in a Twins uniform after Justin Moreneau went down for the season.
Another player who stepped up big (but went missing in the playoffs) is Jason Kubel. I wouldn't be surprised if Delmon or Kubel or both breakout this season. With more pressure than ever on their potential playing time I would not be shocked if Thome played the lesser role in the line up when the two above mentioned players perform well switching for fielding and DH duties.
With the addition of Thome, the Twins have yet another hitter that pitchers have to be very careful while pitching to. Twins fans and players know more than most that making a mistake to Thome can land five rows high in the upper deck. The Twins have a ridiculous line up filled with the left handed hitters Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Denard Span, and now Jim Thome. Throw Michael Cuddyer into that mix and the Twins batting line up is looking healthy.
In fact Thome and Kubel were both among the top five DH's in the league as far as on base percentage (minimum .150 plate appearances). A great stat considering the Twins usually need players on base to score runs. Even though Thome's numbers have been down since his great 2006 season, he still adds a force to be reckoned within our line up and adds more depth to our dangerous roster. Spring can't get here soon enough...