Jim Thome said he was different from the greedhead players who were only in it for the maximum cash. Thome said his priorities included loyalty to the fans of Cleveland, the Indians organization, and the community (he lives, or I should say, lived right down the street from us in Aurora). Either he changed his mind or he lied: $60 million over five years wasn’t enough to keep him on the Indians – he went to the Phillies for $87 million over six years. Sure, $27 million is a boatload of cash, but we are really talking about the difference between $12 and $14.5 million per year – surely a difference one so loyal as he could tolerate.
Hey, whoopie, Thome says he will remain our neighbor:
- “My wife and I want the people to know that we’ll always remain in Cleveland,” Thome said last night. “This is our home, no matter what.
“The fans of this town mean more to me than they will ever know and I will continue to try and do them proud. Despite what people may assume, this was not just a decision driven by dollars . . . and it was not an easy decision to make.”
Thome would not say what finally made him pick the Phillies over the Indians and their five-year, $60 million offer.
“I’ll talk about that later,” he said. [Plain Dealer]
Meaning: “this was a decision driven by dollars.” Yes, the Indians are rebuilding, but the rebuilding will be much more laborious and lengthy with him gone.
Check out Thome’s most impressive stats here.
Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes sees grim times ahead for the Tribe:
- Jim Thome, headed for 500 homers and a possible trip to Cooperstown, walked away yesterday. Robbie Alomar, another Hall of Fame candidate, was traded last December. Twenty-game winner Bartolo Colon and No. 1 pick Paul Shuey went the same way in June and July.
Two managers were fired. Trainer Jimmy Warfield died. A payroll that reached $92 million in 2001 now stands between $50 million and $53 million.
Who knows what Dolan and Shapiro see when they stare out at the diamond at Jacobs Field. Wide-open spaces to be sure, because the talent of the 1990s is gone.
On the infield there’s shortstop Omar Vizquel and no one else. The Indians think Ricky Gutierrez will be able to play third base, but he just spent six weeks in a neck brace. When he could swing a bat, all he did was hit singles.
….In the outfield, Alex Escobar, Matt Lawton and Milton Bradley couldn’t stay healthy last year. Right fielder Karim Garcia had two good months, but there are 162 games in a season.
Behind the plate there’s Einar Diaz and his .206 batting average. There isn’t a catcher in the American League who had a worse season offensively or defensively.
C.C. Sabathia has the arm to be a No. 1 starter, but he needs discipline and conditioning. Behind him are names such as Cliff Lee, Brian Tallet, Jason Davis and Billy Traber.
No team can go into a season with four rookies behind a No. 1 starter who’s younger than most of them. It just isn’t done.
Okay, so I’m back to being an Angels and Dodgers fan for the next few years.