Minnesota Twins

Michael Cuddyer's story about Jim Thome is awesome

Michael Cuddyer's story about Jim Thome is awesome

There were tons of people across the baseball world congratulating Jim Thome on his election to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday night.

But Michael Cuddyer's story on Twitter was definitely one of the coolest.

Cuddyer and Thome played together with the Minnesota Twins the season after Thome's White Sox tenure came to an end. As Cuddyer tells it, in the middle of an August 2010 game against the Cleveland Indians, Thome leaned over and asked if standing on the field was what Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig felt like back in the day — only to hit a two-run homer shortly thereafter. The two-run shot was actually the start of a five-run inning that erased the Indians' four-run lead and sent the Twins to a 5-4 win.

That's a fun moment right there, but Cuddyer goes on to explain that after the game, Thome left a signed bat on Cuddyer's chair with the inscription: "It must have been what Ruth and Gehrig felt like! Thanks for keeping old-school alive. HR #578."

That's just awesome.

Thome has a reputation for being as good a guy as he was a player, and stuff like this shows it.

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Chris Gimenez, come on down.

The 35-year-old catcher isn't exactly a household name, but he's been signed by the Cubs to add backstop depth, according to Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs didn't have much depth in the catching department beyond Willson Contreras and inexperienced rookie Victor Caratini and while Gimenez doesn't light up the stat column, he's a link to Yu Darvish that could give the Cubs a unique advantage in that domain:

Darvish and Gimenez played together with the Texas Rangers in 2014-15 (though Darvish was hurt in 2015) and Gimenez has been shedding some light on what the free-agent pitcher may be thinking this winter. Is this Part II of a David Ross-Jon Lester personal catcher situation?

That may be reading a bit too much into things, as the Cubs were always going to sign a veteran catcher to provide depth beyond the unproven Caratini. They saw how important that was in 2017 when Alex Avila spent roughly a month as the starter when Contreras was hurt.

The link between Gimenez and Darvish is real, but the frontline starter has also made 48 starts over the last two seasons while throwing to a catcher not named Gimenez. And the free agent catching market is pretty thin beyond Avila and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom should earn starter's money or close to it.

Gimenez has played 361 games in the big leagues over the last nine seasons as a journeyman, with stops in Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, Cleveland (again), Texas (again), Cleveland (again) and then Minnesota last year. He played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey while in Tampa Bay.

Gimenez turned in a career season in 2017 with the Twins, notching new highs in games played (74), at-bats (186), runs (28), hits (41), homers (7), RBI (16) and walks (33).

He has a career .218 batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, .345 slugging and .654 OPS. 

But Gimenez isn't just a catcher. He's made nine appearances as a pitcher over the last few years, including six in 2017, where he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Gimenez will probably compete with Caratini for the backup catcher role in Chicago and can lend a veteran presence. He's also the best bet to take for first position player to pitch in a game in 2018.

White Sox add prospect with intriguing power potential

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USA TODAY

White Sox add prospect with intriguing power potential

The White Sox already boast one of the most loaded farm systems in all of baseball, and on Saturday they added another interesting prospect to their stable. 

The South Siders claimed outfielder/first baseman Daniel Palka off waivers from the Minnesota Twins. Palka was placed on waivers earlier this week after the Twins had to trim their 40-man roster.

Palka, who was a third-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Georgia Tech in 2013, was the Twins' Hitting Prospect of the Year in 2016 after slashing .254/.327/.521 with 34 home runs and 90 RBI.

The left-handed hitting Palka slashed .274/.330/.431 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 90 games between the Gulf Coast League and Triple-A Rochester in 2017. 

Palka, 26, has a career minor-league slash line of .269/.343/.496 with 106 home runs and 354 RBI in 538 games.

Considered a bat-first prospect, Palka possesses raw plus power. Check out his scouting report from MLB Pipeline.

Here are some highlights showing why scouts are intrigued by Palka's power potential.

A two time MiLB.com All-Star, Palka was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Twins' No. 22 prospect before he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox.

The White Sox 40-man roster now stands at 35 after Saturday's move.