Jim Thome Signs with Philadelphia Phillies: Can He Replace Ryan Howard?

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Jim Thome Signs with Philadelphia Phillies: Can He Replace Ryan Howard?
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Jim Thome is no first-base savior for the Philadelphia Phillies. He last played the position in 2007. He hasn't been a regular there since his last stint with the Phillies in 2005.

Nonetheless, Thome agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the Phillies Friday. That move sets up Philadelphia with a very good pinch-hitting slugger; Thome's 40 home runs in 664 plate appearances the past two years ably demonstrate that Thome can still do that.

But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel might ask a bit more of his long-time friend and sometime protege. With Ryan Howard out for an indeterminate period after tearing his Achilles' tendon, Thome could be a candidate to make some starts at first base early in the year.

Read on for a thorough examination of the viability of that idea.

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