Used to be that the Phillies had a prospect in AAA named Ryan Howard who would come up in every trade rumor because he was blocked by Jim Thome. Things are just a little different in 2011. With Howard injured and their bench thin, the Phillies signed Thome to a one-year deal according to CSN Philly:
Thome signs w Phillies for 1.25 M according to source. Physical on Sat
Assuming that the physical indicates that Thome can still mash taters with impunity, he'll serve a couple of vital roles for the Phillies. First, he'll be a left-handed bat off the bench, a role that was served this past season mostly by Ross Gload. And second, he'll presumably play a little first base in the early-season absence of Howard.
The Phillies' season ended with Howard tearing his Achilles' tendon while running to first base. He isn't likely to be ready for the start of the 2012 season, as the recovery time for his injury is usually five to six months.
Thome played for the Twins and Indians last season, compiling a respectable .256/.361/.477 season line. The last time he played more than a handful of innings at first base was in 2005, his last season with the Phillies.