The Orioles’ future Hall of Famer isn’t sure he wants to play again.
Jim Thome had a quiet Division Series, getting just one hit in 12 at-bats.
Thome was fun to have around, except he wasn’t around all that much. After he was acquired on June 30, Thome played in just 28 games, batting .257 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.
He missed seven weeks with a herniated disc in his neck, worked feverishly to come back and was a positive force in the clubhouse.
Thome, a noted workaholic, managed to beat manager Buck Showalter to the park on occasion, a great feat because Showalter usually arrives more than seven hours before game time.
At 42, there’s not likely to be much of a market for Thome. He can only be a designated hitter in the American League or a pinch-hitter in the National League.
Thome, who’s played in the major leagues since 1991, will contemplate his future.
“I'm gonna go home. I always talk about it, you know, I'm not worrying
about next year. This is a tough loss. This is a tough loss,” Thome said on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
“I've been able to do this a long time, and felt very blessed to do it for a long time, so you know, I've always said, you've got to have teams
call. You've got to have teams that want you. Right now, you know, this is a little tough because you wanted to keep going, you really did. You wanted to keep going."
Thome enjoyed his stint with the Orioles and had a terrific relationship with Showalter, often inviting himself into the manager’s office to talk about baseball. Showalter once sent him on a scouting trip to Bowie to watch 19-year-old Dylan Bundy pitch.
Thome has 612 home runs, but was only able to play 58 games with the Phillies and Orioles this season.
After years with the Indians, White Sox, Twins, Dodgers and Phillies, he had a blast with Baltimore, spraying his younger teammates with Champagne after they clinched the Wild Card game in Texas. He also knew enough to don goggles during the wild celebration.
“What was cool from my point of view was coming to Baltimore at mid-season and watching the way the city kind of revived itself. I think the young players here really uplifted everything. There's a lot to be proud of. It's going to be an exciting time for years to come, coming to Baltimore," Thome said.
On Saturday, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette was asked about Thome.
"I didn't have a chance to talk to Jim Thome, but he did a nice job for us and I really appreciate him working hard to come back and contribute to the team as a role model, a patient hitter, as a professional player. I thought he added a real veteran presence to our clubhouse and to our lineup," Duquette said.
Showalter doesn’t like having a full time DH, and if Mark Reynolds returns and Chris Davis is around, there really might not be room for Thome.
For weeks, Thome dodged retirement questions. He wouldn’t budge even when the question of the Orioles was raised.
"We'll get into that if that happens. We'll get into that," Thome said.