The Chicago White Sox dealt DH and future HOFer Jim Thome to the Dodgers before yesterday’s MLB trade deadline. Thome will be eligible for LA’s postseason roster. The move may seem peculiar on the surface as Thome can’t DH in the NL and the Dodgers have a productive young first baseman in James Loney.
Thome will serve almost exclusively as a pinch hitter over the remainder of the regular season and the NL playoffs. The Dodgers currently hold a 5.5 game lead in the NL West. The Phillies and Cardinals each feature hard throwing right handed closers in Brad Lidge and Ryan Franklin. Thome has an .897 OPS this season against right handers and gives Dodger Manager Joe Torre a valuable bat off the bench. Should the Dodgers make it to the World Series Thome could serve as the DH, a much better option than Mark Loretta or Juan Pierre. NL teams often play at a disadvantage in AL ballparks because they don’t have someone on their roster that is worthy of the DH at bats. Thome would level the playing field much like Matt Stairs did last year for the Phillies.
Thome will be a free agent at the end of the season and given his lack of a position it is highly unlikely that the Dodgers would offer him arbitration, meaning the signing team would not have to give up draft pick compensation. Thome would be an excellent fit for the Orioles next season. He could serve as the full time DH, sitting against tought lefties. He would also offer some veteran experience and a much needed power presence in the middle of the lineup. On a one or two year deal I think he would be an excellent fit.