He has been an Indian, a Phillie (twice), a White Sox, a Twin, a Dodger, and now, we can call Jim Thome a Oriole. Thome was acquired this afternoon from Philadelphia. In return, we send RHP Kyle Simon and C Gabriel Lino. Thome has a hall-of-fame pedigree. 609 Home Runs ties him with (former Oriole) Sammy Sosa for 7th place all time. He’s a 5 time All-Star, 2 time Man of the Year, and is the All time record holder (modern era) for Walk off Home Runs.
The Orioles have a propensity for adding aging talent to their roster. We’ve seen before: names like Vladimir Guerrero, Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Jamie Moyer, Javy Lopez, Kevin Millar…and that’s just the last few years. Thome is no different, as he turns 42 years young on August 27th. Thome does indeed add a Veteran presence , and has a reputation for being a positive impact in the clubhouse.
The Phillies chose to part ways with Thome. He wasn’t able to be their every day First Baseman, due to back issues. He struggled this season as a pinch hitter, but during interleauge play, where he was able to be the DH for 9 consecutive games, his stats were fantastic for any power hitter .333/4/14 with a .722 slugging percentage. The Orioles have completed inter league play, and would only face a National League team should they advance to World Series play. As an Oriole, Thome is an every day player at DH, something the Orioles have lacked this season, with Showalter moving position players in and out of that role on a day to day basis.
While this trade does not fix our fielding issues, this does add a man with a proven history to put Runs on the board. The O’s had won many of games this season despite their sloppy defense, they haven’t won game where they couldn’t produce runs.
From the business side of the deal, the Orioles have a win. While it’s too soon to tell if the a-ball talents Simon or Lino will develop into big name talents, we didn’t deal away any of our key developing prospects to trigger this trade (Bundy, Machado, Schoop, etc). Financially, Thome has very little impact. His contract this season is a mere $1.25M, half of which the Phillies will pay. Comparatively, Mark Reynolds is set to earn $7.5M (and worth every penny, right?). Perhaps adding a Left Handed Power Bat like Thome make it a bit easier to put Reynolds on the trade block, and not need as much in return.
Most importantly, the front office making a roster move that will seriously keep the club in contention, I see as a huge leap of faith to the fanbase. Even if Thome doesn’t jump in and begin producing, that fact that the organization wasn’t satisfied to leave well enough alone, well, makes me hopeful that this won’t be the only roster addition before the trade deadline.
Thome is likely to be in the lineup on Sunday, as the Orioles try to split their 4 game series against Thome’s former club, the Cleveland Indians.