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Updated: January 15th, 2011 4:21pm
Thome hopes his signing with Twins 'will lead (Pavano) this way'

Thome hopes his signing with Twins 'will lead (Pavano) this way'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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After signing a one-year, $3 million contract to return to the Minnesota Twins, slugger Jim Thome is hoping to pay it forward.

By enticing free agent starter Carl Pavano.

"It's already begun," Thome said in an interview with 1500 ESPN Friday, referring to his recruitment of Pavano.

"You've got to give the player that right to choose where he wants to go, but trust me, deep down we would love to have Carl back here. He played a big, big part in where we were at last year.

"I hope by (me) signing, maybe that will lead him this way and we can have another fun summer in Minnesota."

Pavano and his agent, Tom O'Connell, continue to have discussions with the Twins, and a baseball source said last week that significant progress had been made between the two sides.

Indications are that the two sides have been discussing a two-year deal.

Thome passed up more money

The Rangers' interest in Thome has been widely reported over the past two weeks, and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the slugger turned down a $4 million offer to play for Texas.

Of course, Thome's $3 million deal with the Twins also includes incentives that could raise his salary.

Thome cited a few main reasons for choosing Minnesota instead, most notably the convenience of being able to visit his family in Chicago on off days.

"The Texas Rangers obviously came at us and were wonderful," Thome said. "What a class organization that was, meeting those people and getting an opportunity to talk to them... They have a very, very good organization. They had an opportunity to go to the World Series (last year). So from that end, it was a very difficult decision.

"But in the end, playing with those guys, getting an opportunity to be around those guys every day in that locker room, being in the new ballpark with the fans and the excitement the fans brought to us every day, that was something you can't replace. In the end, I think as a player you put your family first on the list. That was probably the biggest decision in all this, that I got an opportunity to be close to them."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Carl Pavano, Jim Thome
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