Trading Jim Thome Would Be Silly

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Not that I totally disagree with the idea of trading Jim Thome (since he’s extremely limited and some value can be obtained for him, maybe), but Ruben Amaro’s admission that he made to Jayson Stark yesterday, saying that the Phillies are trying to trade Thome to an AL team, is puzzling.

First up, let’s here from Captain Big Stick, Mr. Amaro: [ESPN.com via MLB Trade Rumors]

"The ideal situation right now, because he can't really play defense in the National League, would be for Jim to play in the American League," Amaro said. "He still has the ability to win a game for us and be productive off the bench. The problem is, the further away he gets from regular at-bats, the more difficult it becomes for him to do that. So we'll see what happens. We'll keep in contact with some clubs and see if there's the right fit out there for Jim and for the Phillies."

 

This is not a recent revelation. Before the season started, Thome admitted that he hadn’t traveled with a glove in five years. Amaro also said that Thome playing first base four to five times a month would be the ceiling for the 41-year-old (and that was a surprising upside the Phillies learned a month after they signed him!).

Now you know what you have in Thome: a guy who is limited in the field (read: unable to), but a legitimate home run threat off the bench. So why, then, would the Phillies want to trade him for the reasons Amaro ticked off? In the offseason, a productive bench guy who has the ability to win games was the most the Phillies could have expected from Thome, perhaps with a few first base starts mixed in.

It’s clear part of the motivation is to do right by Gentleman Jim, as noted by Matt Gelb: [Philly.com]

Not much is different. The Phillies would like to do Thome right by finding the best situation for a man with 609 homers and zero World Series rings.

The return for Thome will be limited. Perhaps the Phillies can have the acquiring team pay the remainder of his $1.25 million salary. Perhaps they could fetch, at best, a marginal prospect — emphasis on the word "marginal" and not "prospect."

Either way, this is about Thome, a man the Phillies respect immensely.

 

Stark, too, said that while Thome doesn’t have a no-trade clause, the Phillies will certainly do their best to accommodate him, should they be able to trade him. And again, that’s fine. But it's still puzzling. If the Phillies keep heading in the direction they are, then trading Thome so he has a chance to finish his career as an everyday part of a lineup and, perhaps, a champion is completely reasonable and respectable. But until the Phils are ready to throw in the towel (they're not, according to Amaro), there still remains a possibility of saving the season, and right now they may have one of the best pinch hitters in the league. Some of the best in that role rarely play the field, so why should Thome be any different? Pinch hitters, by their very nature, don’t get many at-bats. Amaro added Thome for depth, and with the anticipated return of Ryan Howard, the Phillies would have just that– depth (hitting, at least). Now they’re going to trade Thome as a sign of respect? I don’t get it.

Jason Weitzel is less pessimistic: [BeerLeaguer.com]

Unfortunately, the answer is to jettison a future Hall of Famer who was probably the best, true clean-up hitter this team has had all season. Right now, the Phils are hoping to get value back, but that will only get harder with every passing day. Contenders are also likely to be reluctant to trade ready help, for example, a capable middle reliever straight-up for Thome, who is hardly a guarantee to stay healthy through October. Thome and Howard cannot coexist as an ex first-baseman who can't take the field and one who will be eased back slowly. It handcuffs the lineup.

 

That all makes sense. But, at the end of the day, having a pinch hitter that you can legitimately count on is what the Phillies wanted out of Thome all along– a better Matt Stairs (HITS ONE INTO THE NIGHT!), if you will. There’s no telling what you will get from Howard this year, and having a useless-in-the-field-but-left-handed-power-threat on the bench isn’t a new concept for the Amaro and the Phils (see Stairs comma Matt and Gload comma Ross). Personally, I’d rather have the co-existence of Howard and Thome problem (hello, 2005) than The Big Tuna, Hector Fucking Luna problem.

My issue is less about trading Thome and more about the fact that Amaro fell flat on his face in the offseason: He let Raul Ibanez, Wilson Valdez (traded), Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge walk (at least three of the four could help the Phillies right now). Signed Qualls (awful, DFA), Thome (soon to be traded), Laynce Nix (hurt), Ty Wigginton and Jonathan Papelbon (the only move that has worked out thus far).

For being the GM of a team coming off its best season ever and needing a few tweaks to stay at the top, injuries notwithstanding, Amaro failed miserably in rounding out the roster. His best move (not including Papelbon) probably was signing Thome, who is proving that he can still help immensely. But because he can’t play the field once every 10 days, now he's going to be traded? That’s silly.

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32 Responses

  1. I like Thome, but I think we can win games without him. I think the ideal situation is we trade him to the AL and in return get some desperately needed bullpen help.

  2. Yeah, I’m all for moving Thome. He’s terrible off the bench as a PH. He needs consistant AB’s and he won’t get that here. I’d move him to Baltimore or TB for a bullpen guy they don’t want.
    Chicago and Cleveland are covered for DH’s

  3. The problem is, they’re not going to get much for him. And, they can use him on the bench. The rest is slop.

  4. Raul Ibanez has not been good this year. He’s DHing in NY, has a .230 AVG and .300 OBP. 11 homers and 35 RBIs don’t mean a thing, especially when he’s in a lineup that gives him an infinite amount of RBI chances.
    Valdez has been garbage. Lidge has been garbage and Oswalt didn’t want to play a full season.

  5. Would you not rather have mid-season Oswalt starting over Raul Valdes? Would you not have preferred Valdez to Michael Martinez, Steroids, or Mike Fontenot (Amaro admitted mistake there), or Ibanez over Mayberry, .233, 6 HR, 23 RBI. I would.

  6. Kyle, the more shit you write, the more it exposes you as a complete fucking idiot when it comes to this shit.
    This is 2012, not 2002. Thome is a pinch hitter who can no longer run or play the field, period. In the AL you can get away with that because of the DH. In the NL its a wasted roster spot. Almost everytime you use Thome, you need to use two players. If he gets on base, you need a pinch runner. If he does not, you need to put a player in the field for him because he cant play. Its fucking pointless to have a guy like that on this team.
    The two most useless commodities available on the trading block in baseball are DH guys, and middle relief pitchers. FUCKING SURPRISE! !!! WE COULD USE THE RELIEF HELP MORON!!!
    Swap Thome to some AL team for any bullpen arm better than any of Schwimmer, Qualls, Savery, Rosenberg, or Dieckman (not hard to do), and the team would be far better off. We are not getting a hot-shit prospect in return for a crippled old man. But that doesnt mean we cant still improve the team.
    Its a slop for slop trade. You know? Like when you takego your tripsone down to the Gayborhood and have some queer fuck you in the ass, but in return you get a reach around? Im sure your ass hurts for days homo, but at least you got off, right?

  7. Since when has the business of pro sports been about fairness? No teams are “fair.” That’s why the Eagles get rid of Dawk, Pats get rid of Troy Brown (the “consummate Patriot”), Flyers get rid of Lindros, etc. etc. etc. x a bajillion.
    Show me a GM who’s “fair” and I’ll sell you some waterfront property in Arizona.

  8. Ignoring the rest of your slop, THAT’S WHY THE PHILLIES SIGNED HIM. To be a pinch-hitter. Little more. And he’s shown that he can still, you know, hit. They’re reversing course even though they got what they wanted. No contending team is going to give them a decent reliever for Thome. It’s a wash trade at best, and another example of how silly their offseason was. And, as noted, this: “My issue is less about trading Thome and more about the fact that Amaro fell flat on his face in the offseason.” But you probably didn’t read that far.

  9. And Thome is not Matt Stairs you fucking jackass.
    Staris could at least hold down a corner OF spot for a game. Thome cant even stand at 1b without tweaking a hammy.
    And if you are holding Thome all year in the hope that he repeats what Stairs did, you probably believe in the Tooth Fairy and the fucking Easter Bunny.
    Faggot.

  10. Kyle,
    I agree with most of your points, but I really hate when people (not just you) say things like would you rather have x over y etc. It isn’t always up to the phillies or other teams to have a certain players. I’ll use oswalt as an example. Obviously the phillies would rather have oswalt over raul valdes. Maybe the phillies did try and sign him. Maybe he didn’t want to come here. Like I said there are two sides to everything

  11. Look, if he wasn’t 1-17 pinch hitting, this conversation wouldn’t even be taking place. Of course they respect him, who doesn’t? But this isn’t just about doing right for Jim Thome. This Phillies team isn’t good enough to afford the two moves required every night in the event he gets on base. They need another fielder off the bench to give them some flexibility with moves, especially the way the bullpen is going. He obviously can’t even play an inning or two in the field with his back late in games. Shame too. His bat is clearly still quick when he gets regular swings.

  12. Correction: Listening to Kyle Scott insights is what is silly. Kyle, you run a decent site; you should keep it at that. Get some writers. Silly to trade Thome huh? Riiiight.

  13. Kyle, I think you missed my point.
    I think we agree on pretty much all points regarding a possible Thome trade. My point was more that the Phillies were saying they’re trying to trade Thome out of “fairness” to him, which I find incredibly hard to believe. No team ever (maybe in VERY rare cases) puts the players interests, above their own, especially just to “be fair.”

  14. I normally try to stay away form the hate for the site in the comments but GOD DAYUM Rhea Hughes both has a very valid point and murdered Kyle on his own site

  15. I love how everyone is so convinced that he cant help without consistent at bats based off one month. He just hit a walk off pinch hit home run the other night. I agree Kyle, dont tell me he cant help. This is exactly what we got him for and exactly why he signed up to play here. Only way I trade him is if we are completely giving up on the season and want to give him a chance at a world series.

  16. No one will give you anything decent for Thome, barring an injury to a contenders dh, NO ONE. He woulda signed as a lefty dh in the offseason tards. Should a lefty DH get hurt why would a CONTENDER trade away a decent back end bullpen guy to get him. Go back to sucking joe’s dick Rhea, maybe change Clarkie’s diaper. When the kids right he’s right. BTW fuck doing whats “right” for the player, you guys think Hamel’s will do whats right for us in the offseason. Do you remember J-rolls paternity leave agaunst the nats?

  17. The only time we can use Thome again would be in the world series. haha.
    trade him for any bullpen help we can get..cmon now the angels got ernesto frieri for a bag of chips
    stupid fucking post

  18. Why would anyone outta contention trade for a guy they can sign in the upcoming offseason? why would anyone in contention be in a position to move a good back end bullpen guy? why would anyone give you a prospect for a guy they can sign in the upcoming offseason? Too many post 2008 fans commenting on this post, get a clue.

  19. guys– missing my points. they can’t get anything for thome. they signed him for exactly the role he’s in now yet they’re citing that role as the reason why they’re trading him? it’s more about reversing course and bad offseason than just thome. but those of you who think we can get any decent reliever for him are crazy. a god team who will trade for a DH isn’t going to go up a valuable reliever. like pat said, it’s more out of respect, which, I’m sorry, $1 million is enough respect to the guy. if he can help you, then keep him. not ruben’s role to place thome on the yankees or rangers. he’s not ray borque. the phillies still have a shot here, and a pinch hitter. keep him, it’s what they got him for.

  20. It doesn’t matter if you trade Thome or not. You won’t get anything significant in return for him so it’s not worth arguing over.
    All of you dopes, especially this angry moron named Rhea Hughes, don’t seem to understand this part.

  21. Lets talk about the real gorilla in the room, Cole Hamels and the 175 million dollars 6 years the Dodgers are going to give him. In 3 weeks the yankees may be very desperate for pitching help. Would you rather see him once a year or 5 times a year in the AL? He aint signing here…

  22. What they are saying if you read between the lines is Gentleman Jim is not a pinch hitter. He is a DH. There is a big difference in the 2.

  23. Here’s how the Phillies have lost a lot of their games:
    Through some combination they have a one run lead around the 6/7/8 inning. With said lead, a reliever gives up 2 runs or more. The Phils can’t score in the last inning or so to make up the difference and they lose.
    So here’s where you need to decided how you want to stop this from happening.
    For the sake of this scenario I’ll pretend this happens 10 more times this year.
    Option A: Keep Thome. Phils give up lead, trail by one, Thome pinch hits. Based on his PH record, he’ll hit a half of a HR in those 10 times, but being generous, we’ll say he hits 3 go ahead homers. Phils record = 3-7
    Option B: Trade Thome for shitty reliever. For the sake of argument we’ll say it’s Chad Qualls’ twin. Phils have one run lead, hoping not to squander it again. Put in reliever (who sucks) blows half the games. Phils record = 5-5
    Long story short, you get more value out of any pitcher than you would a guy who can at most get one AB a game.
    Plus, as an opposing pitcher, I’ll just walk Thome or pitch around him.

  24. Yes, they brought Thome back to pinch-hit almost exclusively, knowing that he can’t play the field (it was kind of foolish of them to think he’d be able to play a few games here & there at 1B, given that he hadn’t played the field in 5 years & has had a lot of back issues). Rube & Charlie were thinking/hoping that he’d acclimate to a full-time PH role but it hasn’t worked out. As others here have pointed out, pinch-hitting full-time requires a really specific ability and Thome has shown that he can’t do it. 17 AB’s at this point in the year is a pretty good sample size for a PH. Also, he showed that he could not pinch-hit full-time during his stint with the Dodgers a few years back. Just because they brought him back for the very specific & limited role of pinch-hitting (and DH’ing in AL parks) doesn’t justify keeping him around to stay in that role when he’s repeatedly shown that he’s not cut out to be a full time PH. Tying up a roster spot with a player who pinch-hits and does nothing else is OK (on a winning team, that is; losing teams can’t really afford that luxury) if he was capable of doing it but he can’t & it’s come to the point where the Phils can no longer afford to let him hold that roster spot, regardless of what they can get for him, even though it wouldn’t be much in terms of getting a player back in return but they would still be better off because almost anybody else that fills that spot would add more value & give Charlie a little more flexibility. I love Thome to death…he’s a definite HOF player and by all accounts, a great guy but even though it was a nice, feel-good story for a while, bringing him back was a mistake & it would be stubborn & foolish at this point to keep him around.

  25. Kyle, what part of National League baseball does your puckered little ass hole not get.
    You can not afford to keep a guy like Thome on an NL team all year.
    For fucks sake, if we simply cut the motherfucker, and promoted a pussy bullpen guy from AAA just to fill the roster spot, it would at least give Chollie one more piece of shit to throw at another team.
    Your point seems to be, he was signed to be a pinch hitter so let him pinch hit. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that Rube is a fucking retard for signing Thome in the first place, and that allowing this team to waste a roster spot on this guy for the rest of the season, a season where they are going to have to play .550+ baseball just to get back into contention would be another classic Rube clusterfuck. Stop drinking the brown juices that drops from Rube’s ass. Send Thome anywhere and get more spoon foggers for the pen. Motherfucker is 1-19 anyway as has been stated ad-nauseum. Its not like he is Greg Fucking Dobbs from 2008 you dumb shit.
    While you are at it, get Kendricks pussy ass out of here too. Wait let me guess, he was extended two years to pitch so let him pitch? Right?
    Fuck that shit. Its defeated wet vagina thinking like that which got us in this hole in the first place.

  26. Kyle, there is a difference between pinch hitting and getting four at bats every day…

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