June 2002: Thome rejects at least one trade and says he would like to remain in Cleveland even if it means less money.November 2002: Thome signs with the Phillies for more money than Cleveland was offering (though not that much more something like $1MM per year over 5 years)Was the difference that little? My understanding is that the Phillies offered around $85M in guaranteed money, while the Indians were down around $60M. That's a pretty big difference. I think had the numbers been closer he would have stayed in Cleveland, but the Phillies blew the Indians out of the water on this one.Should the Indians have forced the issue and traded Thome for prospects instead of letting him go for a sandwich draft pick? Or do they deserve what the got since they did not sign thome before he became a free agent?In retrospect, yeah, they probably should have traded him. But honestly I never think of teams as "losing" when something like this happens. They had him in their system for 13 years. Having been a 13th round pick, they paid him essentially nothing for a long time. He gave them eight full major league seasons, none of which were poor, all of which were good and several of which were very good. And now they'll get A-level compensation to boot, and if you think about it, paying a 32-yo first baseman that kind of money over six years really doesn't fit with the rebuilding they're doing in Cleveland.jason
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