That experiment has run its course, and it’s time for the club to part ways with the aging bat.
Here are six reasons why:
1. He’s hurt
Thome has been on the DL all month with a bad back. In the past, he’s had troubles with his elbow and his legs. Even if comes back in a week or two, whether he will be 100 percent is doubtful.
2. He can’t field to save his life
Thome has 137 career errors, and career is 31 total-zone, total-fielding runs below average. He has a career -17.1 defensive wins-above-replacement and has 13 seasons of a dWAR of -0.5 or worse.
Also, did I mention he has no legs?
3. Nor can he hit anymore
This season with the Phillies, Thome has gone 2-for-18, hasn’t scored, hasn’t driven anybody in and hasn’t had an extra base hit. He’s had only three home runs and only seven extra-base hits in his last 103 plate appearances.
4. Philly already has enough first basemen
Off the top of your head, can you tell me how many people have played first for the Phillies in the last month and a half?
If you said “five,” you’re correct: the other four are Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Hector Luna.
Of those five, the one with the lowest batting average at the position is…Thome. The only one without an extra-base hit is…Thome.
To be fair, Nix is on the DL, and Mayberry is really more of a converted outfielder, but that still leaves Wiggington, who is batting .308 with 10 RBIs and an .814 OPS when at the first base position.
And journeyman Triple-A callup Luna to back him up rather than Thome.
5. Ryan Howard will be back soon
Howard replaced Thome at first base for the Phillies in 2005. Then, Thome replaced Howard at first at the beginning of this season. Howard has begun an extended rehab assignment in Clearwater and will be ready to again replace Thome before the All-Star break, possibly well before.
6. It’s time for Thome to retire
Thome will be 42 before the season is over. He hasn’t hit 30 homers since 2008. He hasn’t had 250 total bases or even played 130 games in a season since then either.
In the past seven seasons, he’s fielded a grand total of 55 innings. He’s stolen one base in the last decade.
He’s either cemented his case for the Hall of Fame, or is at the point where he can’t do anything more to help it.
Bottom line: The Phillies need to waive Jim Thome.