Last winter, the Phillies went ahead and did something that not only made the team better, but also brought joy and glee to the hearts of many a fan, when they went and signed Jim Thome to a one-year deal. It was Thome's second tour with the Phillies, and if the ovations that he received weren't obvious enough, it was almost as if he never left the city of Brotherly Love.
And much like his first time around in red pinstripes, it's not going well, through no fault of his own. Despite some nagging injuries that limited his playing time, Thome has returned from the DL with a vengeance, and has done nothing but hit four homers in 11 games since, with a very nice line of .316/.395/.684.
Unfortunately, Thome isn't much good in the field, so his playing time – which is already limited – is reduced to pinch hitting, the occasional start at first base or DH'ing during interleague play. Other than that, Thome isn't much use to the Phillies unless they want to willfully let a statue play first base. But, with the way that Ty Wigginton and John Mayberry have been hitting, it might not be the worst thing.
But, right now, the best thing for Thome is if he doesn't even play for the Phillies. I know that we all love him and his “aw shucks” demeanor, but before too long, the Phillies will need to make a choice as to whether or not it's worth keeping him around. After all, interleague play lasts only so long,and the odds of the Phillies even making it to the postseason...well, they aren't in their favor.
So, they should do the sensible thing and look to trade Thome to an American League team who could make use of his services. And luckily for the Phillies, there is no shortage of contending teams who could use another bat in their lineup.
New York Yankees: Sure, we should hate the Yankees, and maybe we don't want to see our beloved Jimmers in that hideous uniform, but they could use him. At present, former Phillie Raul Ibanez is their DH, and he's doing a decent enough job, but he's hitting .239, he can't get on base, and his OPS of .763 isn't exactly 'good' for a guy whose only job is to hit.
Baltimore Orioles: The hefty Nick Johnson is getting the lion's share of the ABs as the DH, but that guy can't stay healthy to save his life. Also, he's not that good anymore.
Tampa Bay Rays: The outspoken Luke Scott, who is also the owner of some pretty rad facial hair, recently hit the disabled list, meaning that Thome could slide right into the DH slot in St. Pete. Not sure how he would feel about playing with a bunch of 20-year-olds, though, what with their loud music and baggy pants and whatnot.
Detroit Tigers: Between Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, they might have enough guys with good bats and slow 40-yard-dash times. What's another slow-footed slugger among friends?
The Texas Rangers could use him, I guess, and the Cleveland Indians would be an interesting team (why not send Thome back to where he started his career?), but it really comes down to someone like the Yankees, Orioles, or Rays. If given a choice, I'd pick the Rays to be my trade partner, given their deep farm system and the need to bolster their offense while Luke Scott and Evan Longoria are on the shelf.
With just under two weeks left in the month of June, the Phillies have plenty of time to play the field before pulling the trigger. And while we would all like to see Thome play out the year with the Phillies, the truth is that they'd be much better off if he could net them a middling prospect.