According to a report by Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies have just traded Jim Thome to the Orioles. CSN’s Jim Salisbury first reported that the two teams were talking.
Rosenthal says the trade will be announced after the game.
UPDATE: Multiple reports say the Phillies will receive single-A pitcher Kyle Simon and, according to Rosenthal, minor league catcher Gabriel Lino in return. So much for all those folks who expected a big reliever.
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.
"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."
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.
As we told you last night, Jonathan Papelbon offered $5,000 to anyone who could bail him out of his first blown save of the season by walking it off in the bottom of the ninth. Enter Jim Thome, who hit his 13th career walk-off home run, the most ever in the Major Leagues (previously, he was tied with Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson, and Mickey Mantle, with 12).*
Two items of note: Larry Andersen all but called Thome’s shot just moments before he hit it, saying, “It'd be a nice time for Gentleman Jim to go yard.”
Good a.m. Thanks to a slow start following last night’s (dare I call it) raucous Boy Meets World Quizzo at Drinker's, we’re going to let reader Dave write today’s lede, which, of course, is a Major League reference:
“We won a game yesterday, if we win one today that's two in a row. If we win one tomorrow, that's called a winning streak.”
The Phillies won last night, 6-1. It was their second win in a row. If they win another– winning streak.
Let’s start straightaway by calling out Jim Thome’s ridiculous six game stretch:
He is 11 of his last 24, with two doubles, three home runs, 13 RBIs, and, over that stretch, he leads the Majors in really old guys being happy just to be alive. For realstons. He’s playing the game like an old dog that was just given one of those wheelie things to drag around his now useless hind legs:
Aww. See how happy Jim is? He’s just a good boy!
Keep mashing, Gentleman Jim. Keep mashing.
Reader (@CDew27_1J8) noticed that home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez (is that… Russian?) may or may not have pissed himself:
Today it was announced that he will head to the 15-day DL with a bad back. Because he’s old. He'll be replaced by catcher Erik Kratz.
Look, I have no interest in saying anything bad about gentlemen Jim. But it’s not going well. He’s 2-for-18 with no extra base hits and 10 strike outs. Those are facts.
He’s been leaned on heavily in Ryan Howard’s absence, so he can’t really be blamed for, you know, not performing like a starting Major League first baseman. He’s in the twilight (the extended-cut?) of his career and still possesses enough of a power (or sac fly) threat to keep around on the bench, provided he’s healthy. Which he’s not.
This isn’t meant to bash Jim, but more-so to point out that maybe, just maybe, the somewhat sentimental signing shouldn’t have been the Phillies' second biggest move of the offseason.
Of course, if Thome goes yard in Game 4 of the NLCS, then Rube is a genius. A fucking genius, I tell you.
During this week’s On Deck Series, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and KPMG sponsored a Q&A session with Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Jim Thome and Jonathan Papelbon. And it was outstanding.
The highlight? Papelbon, Cinco Ocho, and their deadpan delivery. They’re… winning me over?
Describing his alter ego:
“Well, he came about in '07. And, you know, he’s kind of always itching at my skin to come out. This alter ego, he likes to take all the notoriety. He’s kind of a pain in the rear end to deal with, but, you know, I’ve got to live with him.”
There was more, though. The questions (and answers) ran the gamut from watching game film to Papelbon’s gambling habits. Some details:
Papelbon and Thome won a lot of money with their NCAA brackets.
Howard said his rehab is going well. “I repeat, the tendon is fine.”
Why they came to Philadelphia? Papelbon came to “add to his ring collection.” And for the food. His favorite restaurant is Davios Northern Italian Steakhouse.
Lee: “Before I got here, I heard nothing but bad things about Philly, to be honest with you. And then when I got here, I realized… I didn’t believe it. I was shocked.”
Both Howard, Lee and Thome talked about the city’s history. Not Papelbon: “I’m not big on history.”
Are you going to watch a lot of film on NL hitters? Papelbon: “I don’t watch film. I don’t look at film. I could really care less about film. I just go out there and a pitch. I go from pitch to pitch. I really don’t care about film.”
What gave you the interest to play? Papelbon: “When I was about first grade, I saw Jim Thome play…”
Thome: “And I’m still playing.”
Can you tell us a secret about Charlie Manuel? Lee: “He’s got a lot of silver coins. He’s big into commodities.”
Thome really likes Papelbon.
What is it like playing with Jim Thome again? Howard: “In 2002, the fan in me was like aw man, the Phillies just signed Jim Thome. The baseball player in me was like, damn, they just signed Jim Thome.”
Thome: “I virtually left because of him… and I don’t mean that as a bad thing… It gave me an opportunity at the time to go to Chicago, which was near my home. We had lost mom to cancer during that time.”
Are you changing your entrance music? Papelbon: “I’m changing it. I still to this day have no clue what I’m going to come out to.”
Tell us something we don’t know about you? Lee: “I’m a Virgo. I’m from Arkansas. I like hunting and fishing. I got two kids, a boy and a girl. That’s about it.
Howard: "I’m a Scorpio. I have an 11-year-old son.”
Thome: “I’m a Virgo. I like hunting and fishing. I got two kids, a boy and a girl.”
Papelbon: “I don’t know what I am, because I’m not into that, really. I’m not into the moon and the stars. Wait, what was the question? I have a near-genius IQ.”