Thome’s arrival in Baltimore in certainly intriguing, and comes during a time when this team is scuffling.
While anxiety exists about Thome’s capability to truly help Baltimore—and justifiably so—this veteran possesses skills and traits the Orioles simply do not have right now.
Thome presents a low-risk, high-reward situation for an Orioles team that deeply needs a proven leader.
In this slideshow, I will highlight five ways a healthy Thome can help Baltimore reach greater heights.
Thome is a proven winner who brings instant credibility to the Orioles.
A 21-year veteran, Thome is a five-time All-Star who has written a resume of achievements many ballplayers can only dream of.
Thome is also one of the most well-respected ballplayers in the game today. Wherever this man has gone, he has proven an effective clubhouse leader.
“[Thome’s] a guy that can help us between the lines, and outside the lines,” Baltimore Manager Buck Showalter said during his postgame press conference, following his team’s 11-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.
While Thome is still looking for his first World Series ring, he brings leadership and a thirst for winning the Orioles need.
Thome’s acquisition provides the Orioles with another left-handed bat. But unlike anyone else in this team’s lineup, nobody has the type of pop Thome possesses.
With 609 major league home runs, Thome is tied with Sammy Sosa for seventh place all-time.
Thome also has hit 30 or more home runs in a season 12 times in his career. He is one of just seven players ever to achieve this feat.
Thome’s 17 postseason home runs also place him seventh all-time—ahead of Babe Ruth.
As for the Orioles, Thome has bombed away during his career at 333 West Camden Street.
Per Saturday’s Orioles press release regarding the Thome trade, Thome has 18 home runs in 67 career games at Camden Yards.
Two of these home runs landed on Eutaw Street, according to the Eutaw Street Home Run Tracker.
With a short 318-foot wall in right field, Thome can empty the bases real quickly for the Orioles.
While Thome is a long-ball threat, there is more to this slugger than power.
A career .277 hitter, Thome’s ability to work the count gives the Orioles better ability to score runs.
Not to mention, Thome is 25th all-time in driving in runs (1,689).
Thome’s great skill at getting on base and knocking in runners can only help an Orioles team that can be feast or famine.
It is no surprise the Orioles have struggled to find a consistently effective DH this season, with Mark Reynolds being the latest to scuffle at the position.
Should Thome stay healthy, he could be the glue that bonds an Orioles lineup that has shown flashes of brilliance.
With return of Nick Markakis from injury, Baltimore could boast a lineup that features Brian Roberts, followed by Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Thome, Chris Davis, Matt Weiters, Wilson Betemit, Xavier Avery and/or Steve Pearce.
Another Orioles perk is that Jones will certainly see more fastballs with Thome looming in the on-deck circle.
It is a well-known fact Thome has a knack for the dramatic.
Case in point, Thome recently broke the MLB record for most walk-off home runs in a career (13), per ESPN.
Thome whacked his record-breaking homer as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6. In achieving this feat, Thome passed Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson and Babe Ruth.
While it is true Thome is well-beyond his heyday, Orioles fans hope Thome still has some memorable moments remaining in his iconic bat.
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