He's not quite standing on a street corner holding a sign made of cardboard that reads, "Will work for food." But Jim Thome might be getting desperate. He clearly does not want to retire, and it seems no team is truly interested in him right now.
That might change as the inevitable spring injuries come around and teams scramble to fill holes. However, for now Thome is faced with little options but a burning desire to continue playing baseball.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says Thome is planning to keep working out in Phoenix. He wants to stay in shape and be ready in case a team calls him. Thome understands he may only get one shot to impress a team enough to earn a contract. He'll be ready.
"My plan is to kind of stay in shape and see what happens," Thome said. "If a team calls for me, mentally, I want to know I'm ready to go."
The Cleveland Indians were pursuing Thome for a while, but they have dropped out of that race (not that there are really any other contenders in this "race"). Thome can still be a productive hitter, though, and teams will likely come calling. He is 42 years old and has spent 22 years in the league. He may not be the same player he was in his 20's or even his 30's, but he's still above average.
Last season Thome hit .252/.344/.442 with eight home runs. His OPS was still slightly above league average at .786, and he hasn't had an OPS under league average since an injury-riddled 2005 season. In his career, Thome has hit .276/.402/.554. He has 612 home runs. He's a future Hall of Famer.
If Thome can't find full-time work, there has to be a team out there willing to put Thome on their roster strictly for the novelty of it. Not many teams get to boast having a future Hall of Famer on the roster. Thome's one of the game's all-time home run hitters, and that's worth something still to fans.