Thome, who played for Minnesota in 2010, cranked 25 home runs and could reach 600 career blasts provided he hits 11 in 2011.
While that normally wouldn't be a problem for Thome, playing time may factor in his chase for 600. Thome largely served as a platoon DH for the Twins, playing primarily against right-handers. However, Justin Morneau's concussion opened the door to ample playing time which may be in short supply with Morneau returning and Delmon Young proving worthy of additional playing time.
While the 40-year-old can't play full-time these days, he may struggle to see 250 at-bats in 2011. The Rangers were speaking to Thome about a possible deal, but Texas would have been hard-pressed to guarantee Thome more playing time than Minnesota.
In other news, the Athletics are poised to sign Grant Balfour, with only a physical standing in the way as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. ESPN's Buster Olney adds that Balfour will receive $8.1 million over two years, a pretty penny for a reliever but in a market where relievers are getting outrageous deals, it's not too terrible relatively.
Balfour should setup closer Andrew Bailey and could step in for a few saves himself. The Rays will receive Oakland's second-round pick as well as a compensatory first-round pick, giving Tampa 10 picks prior to the second round.
-- Evan Brunell