One of the most inspirational Orioles of 2012 wants to play again, but it’s unlikely that Jim Thome will play in Baltimore next season.
Thome told CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury that he’s not retired, and he’d like to keep playing.
He hasn’t spoken with the Orioles, and it doesn’t look like the team has a place for him.
Barely three weeks after Thome was acquired from the Phillies, he injured his neck. He feverishly worked at rehabbing it and was able to return for the final 12 days of the regular season and play in his 10th postseason.
When the Orioles beat Texas to win the Wild Card game, he was one of the most active champagne sprayers, donning goggles to protect his eyes. Thome had been through a few of those celebrations before.
While Buck Showalter loved having him on the club, it’s difficult to project him as a full-time designated hitter for the Orioles—or any other club.
At 42, he’s probably best-suited to be a pinch-hitter in the National League. As hard as he works, his body can’t withstand four at-bats per game.
He says he’d like to manage when he’s done. Showalter loved those days when the early arriving Thome would invite himself into the manager’s office and talk. He has great knowledge of the game and enjoyed it when Showalter asked him to scout Dylan Bundy at Bowie.
It’s not beyond the realm of conception that the Orioles or another team sign him to a minor league contract. It’s just difficult to project him on a 40-man roster.
Any team that signs Thome will benefit. He’s a nice man who’s incredibly dedicated, and his work ethic will rub off on the rest of his team.