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Report: Thome Has Handshake Agreement to Join White Sox Organization Upon Retirement

HardballTalk on NBC Sports has the story about former Cleveland Indian Jim Thome having a handshake agreement with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf to join the club in some capacity following his retirement. Thome, 41, signed with the Phillies in the offseason following his stint at the conclusion of the 2011 season with the Tribe. This could be a blow to some fans who may have hoped for the same agreement between Thome and the Indians. Jimmy played with the White Sox from 2006-2009.

“When he left here to go to the Twins (in 2010), we kind of shook hands and agreed that, whenever his career is over, he’ll come back to the White Sox in some capacity, Reinsdorf said. He did say that he wants to live in Chicago. Whenever it’s over, hopefully I’ll see him back here. And I hope I live to see him go into the Hall of Fame.

Anything he wants, Reinsdorf said. I’d like to see him come to spring training, work with the young players. He’s a great role model. He really understands hitting. This is not just a guy who goes up there with a bat and swings. He understands hitting. We’ve talked about hitting a lot. He understands it. There’s a lot that he can impart. Just being around, you know. If he goes on to be a big league coach, that would work too.”

What say you, Tribe fans? Does this bother you considering Thome spent nearly three times as long with the Tribe as the ChiSox?

  • Anonymous

    Thome grew up in that area and I guess the Sox were his team as a kid. So why not? Also, it’s not like anyone else offered him a job for later.

    However, the Tribe’s decision to build a statue of him is looking sillier all the time.

  • Wheel

    You mean they are building a statue to Thome in Cleveland, he will go into the Hall of Fame as an Indian, and upon retirement he will be joining the White Sox organization????? I expect this out of Mark Shapiro and Larry Dolan.  But no one is forcing Thome to work for the White Sox. He surely doesn’t need the money. I just hope this is not true.  If so, stop construction on the statue immediately.

  • Jaker

    Please no

  • Greg

    OK by me as long he goes into the HOF as an Indian.  If he goes in as anything else, the statue won’t last for long.

  • JoeMers

    Just like the Cav’s not using Mark Price…really just not smart!!!

  • Steve

    I like how the natural reaction for anything to happen that even loosely involves the Tribe is “look how cheap/dumb Dolan/Shapiro are”. It certainly couldn’t be that the guy who screwed over the franchise when he left doesn’t really care about his previous connections.

  • JM

    I agree with Steve

  • Kunal

    If the Indians offered him a job and he spurned them for the Sox then I would be upset.  However theres no evidence that the Indians even offered him anything so you can’t blame the guy for taking a job somewhere other than Cleveland if its the only job he’s been offered.

  • Wheel

    Steve, who are you referring to?  Dick Jacobs?  The guy who got a new stadium built, invested in his minor league system, freed up dollars for his GM to give a chance to win a World Series, then sold the team at the peak of its worth?  Or do mean John Hart, the architect for Indian teams that was regularly in the post season?  These people didn’t ‘screw over the franchise.’  Dolan and Shapiro have done very little to match the success of their predecessors.  Their failings are their own, not the result of being screwed over. 

  • Anonymous

    Maybe they can put a White Sox uniform on the statue. That whole thing bringing him back was a PR stunt and people fell for it. Had he retired after it would have been ok but instead he goes right back to Philly and now this story.

  • USSChoo

    Well, if you could investigate beyond knee-jerk journalism, you would find a host of factors that create the environment of the Tribe today. You would also be surprised that the 90’s Indians didn’t ever lose money. You might also be surprised that Jacobs sold the team because he thought it had come to end, from a profitability stance. And why did they make money? Could it be because the Cleveland economy was surging and people had lots of extra money for entertainment? So much so that they actually spent money on the Indians! And, lest we not forget, many of those years the Browns weren’t in town, so the Indians had one less pro sports team to compete against for our hard earned money.

    If you’re going to complain, at least complain about the right things.

  • Wheel

    I agree about the economy and the lack of competition from the Browns were factors.  But you’re ignoring the obvious.  The Indians put an entertaining product on the filed that put fans in the seats.  And they were winners.  Jacobs invested in a team that could produce championships.  Championship teams sell tickets and produce revenue.  The Dolans refuse to make a real investment into bringing a championship team.  Instead, they put a poor product on the field, then use the excuse of lackluster attendance as a reason for low payroll.  With this philosophy, the Indians will never win.  Put the Indians of the 1990s on the field today, and Jacobs Field would be packed every night.  

  • Harv 21

    The statue thing is a transparent marketing attempt by the Indians to remind relatively youngish customers that hey, we have been great since Feller and you love us, remember? This should not be the cause of resentment against Thome and his post-career decisions.

    These statue/retire number things are like crack to marketing departments, a quickie high that can backfire. We’re still staring at jerseys of Nate Thurmond and Bingo that now are clearly ridiculous, a monkey-see/monkey-do joke a team does when the seats are empty, cheapening that same gesture to truly great contributors an organization really should honor.

  • Bowtiejk

    Please please please say it ain’t so….and if it is….PLEASE do not build that statue.  We don’t need it!

  • Anonymous

    Thome couldn’t do it if they didn’t allow it!  The Indians got Boozered baby.

  • Frankwhisler

    It was the Indians mistake for commissioning the statue in the first place. Why make a statue of someone who has yet to retire?

  • Anonymous

    Owners who sell at the profitability peak often leave the new owner scrambling for cash.

  • Anonymous

    This is kind of like the Rangers signing Nolan Ryan to a personal services contract after spending his best years elsewhere.

  • USSChoo

    Well, in 2007, a team that was as good if not better than any of the 90’s teams, we averaged 28,448 people per game. 1997? 42,034. That amounts to about 1.1million less people. You multiply that by the average ticket price and average concession consumption, and you have a huge chunk of money to play with. And it isn’t like 2007 came out of nowhere, 2006 showed that the team was surging and was in a very good position to contend the following year. But where were the people? 2006-2007 Indians were teams that could hold water with the Indians of the 90’s and yet, there was the stadium, still nearly half empty on a regular basis.

    So, unfortunately, your obvious is not so obvious. In fact, it really isn’t even true. What might be true, however, is that Indians fans were spoiled by the 90’s with the high salaries relative to the rest of the league and their extended success and have failed to show up to fully enjoy the stretches of success we have had in the last 6-7 years. What people fail to realize is that baseball is an entirely different system now versus the 90’s. In 1997, probably the final year before the huge economic shift began, the Indians had the 4th highest payroll, but only at $54m. Two other teams sat just below $55m and the Yankees led everyone with $59m. Very much unlike the Yankee payroll of today. If you flash forward to 2008, the year where the Indians paid to keep their talent from 2007 on the field, their payroll was up to nearly $79m. Inflation rates tells us that $54m of 1997 money in 2007 would come out to around $72m. So, the Indians shelled out a very large sum of money, higher than 1997’s payroll + inflation, in order to keep talent on the field. We all know how the 2008 season went and how that worked out. For comparison, the Yankee payroll in 2008 had ballooned up to $209m, or about 7.5x the inflation rate. So it is very easy to see how the landscape of baseball changed. It wasn’t the Jacobs’ vs. the Dolan’s, it is 90’s MLB vs. 2k MLB, a very different baseball economy. Unfortunately, our town and our owners were BOTH better suited to compete in the 90s.

    And to be fair, the Indians of the very late 90’s/early 2000’s, did inflate payroll up past $70 and even $90m, but it still wasn’t enough to keep pace with the still bigger payrolls. 

  • Yeah

    LOL that the 2007 was as good as any of the 90’s teams! Nice try, Mr. Shapiro! Hilarious

  • USSChoo

    Exactly. As evidenced by the inflated payroll of 2001 and no way to solve it other than gutting. Dick Jacobs was a shrewd business man, even in failing health I doubt he sells the Indians if he sees opportunity for sustained profitability. 

  • Wheel

    Thanks for the lesson on baseball economics. It’s too bad you don’t know anything about baseball. No one in their right mind would compare the Indians of 2006-7 to the Indians of 1994-2001.  The 2006 Indians, whom you refer to as ‘surging’ were 78-84.  It’s now obvious that the 2007 Indians were an aberration, proven by when they came back to reality in 2008.  I agree that baseball economics have changed, but to imply the decrease in attendance is a simple matter of economics is a gross oversimplification.  Cleveland fans will support a teams that are consistently good.  The Dolan regime is yet to put a consistent winner on the field.

  • Wheel

    I don’t remember anyone forcing Dolan at gunpoint to purchase the Indians.  

  • Steve

    How? The Indians weren’t contending, so they offered to trade Thome to a contender, he refused to waive his no-trade clause, declaring that you’d have to tear the shirt off his back to get him out of town. Or apparently, offer him a couple million a year more.

    I have no problem with Thome taking the bigger contract, but he held the franchise hostage, just like Lebron did, by not allowing a trade and not being honest about his intentions.

  • Steve

    Thome. I know reading comprehension isn’t stressed enough in school anymore but there is a very limited number of people being discussed in this post.

    And I’ve noticed your posts below, and well, I’m just sorry for you. Baseball economics have drastically changed since the mid 90s. The fact of the matter is that Cleveland is a shrinking town that is getting poorer, and with the way TV contracts matter much more than gate receipts, will never be able to compete financially with the big boys.

    And with 2007 Sabathia and Carmona at the front of the rotation, that team would mop the floor with most of the mid 90s teams. We saw over and over again what teams with an ace at the front of the rotation could do in a series against our offensive juggernauts.

  • Cody Searl

    It was a bad business decision, but it doesn’t change the economic climate of the purchase.

  • Anonymous

    That’s how I feel too. If the dude wants to work somewhere else b/c we don’t have a space for him here, then more power to him.

    But if he plans on being a non-Indian in the HOF, he is dead to me.

  • Anonymous

    But let’s stop lionizing Dick Jacobs.  He’s no Larry H. Miller (who propped up the Utah Jazz for years out of his own pocket).

  • tomaso

    I disagree Thome was a Cub fan because he lived in Peoria and watched the Cubs farm team, but I would like to see him in uniform if the Sox are out of post season contention.