The Cleveland Indians have called off their pursuit of former franchise icon Jim Thome, opting to find a more versatile player to take on the DH role this season, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
Sources: #Indians no longer pursuing Thome, do not want to commit roster spot to a DH. Thome healthy, working out, open to other clubs.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 7, 2013
The Indians had been toying with the idea of bringing Thome back to Cleveland for a few weeks -- along with Travis Hafner -- but the veteran's lack of mobility seems to have ruled him out.
The 42-year-old Thome's role has dwindled over the last few seasons as injuries and age have taken their toll, but he's still managed to be productive when able to get in the batter's box. The future Hall of Famer (in my book, at least) appeared in 58 games last year with the Phillies and the Orioles, hitting .255/.344/.442 with eight home runs in 186 plate appearances.
The Tribe currently has youngster Chris McGuiness -- who has never played a minute above Double-A -- at the top of the depth chart for designated hitter, so it's unclear what their plan is for the position. If they do not sign anyone between now and Opening Day, the club could decide to take the merry-go-round approach and have Carlos Santana, Mark Reynolds, and Nick Swisher jump back and forth between DH and their regular positions.
Thome hasnt' been tied to any other clubs this offseason so far as we know, so he may be out of options for finding a DH job. Hopefully he'll land a bench role somewhere and give it one more go.