It was bound to happen, and it finally did: Jim Thome has been traded to the Baltimore Orioles.
We've talked about this a lot in the past week or so, and we all knew that it was just a matter of time before the Philadelphia Phillies moved the veteran to the American League, where he can ply his craft as a designated hitter (and thus, actually contribute on a frequent basis) as opposed to sitting on the bench and hoping the team is in need of a pinch hitter late in the game.
Jim Salsibury of CSN Philly had it first, and later, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal chimed in to confirm it. In return for Thome, the Phillies will be receiving a pair of minor leaguers, catcher Gabriel Limo and RHP Kyle Simon.
Neither are blue-chippers, so don't get too excited. According to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, Simon has a “plus sinker” but has “mediocre secondaries” and “can't miss bats,” while Limo is a “19 yo Venezuelan with plus defense potential and some raw power,” but Goldstein doesn't expect much out of him, offensively.
But, that was to be expected. Thome isn't going to net a huge return, and the Phillies are lucky to get two warm bodies in exchange for the part-time player with a history of back injuries. All they can hope is that these two players exceed expectations and one day provide some nominal value at the Major League level, even if they are average, at best.
In his second go-round with the Phillies, Thome had a line of .242/.338/.516 with five homers and 15 RBIs. It was a season beset by injuries and a lack of playing time, which was to be expected from a 41-year-old with no defensive skills. But, the Phillies signed him to bolster the bench, not to start every day. And with their hopes of turning the season around fading fast, it made all the sense in the world to jettison him to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs.
It was a good move to sign Thome to a one-year deal, but sadly, the dream of him getting his first World Series ring died with the rest of the roster. Here's hoping that the Orioles go far in 2012.