Philadelphia Phillies: How Jim Thome Deal Helps Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies’ decision to bring back veteran slugger Jim Thome won’t go down as one of the genius move of GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., but it was an underrated move.
Thome will help the Phillies not only with his skills on the field, but also with his personality in the clubhouse.
The following five slides explain the positive impact that Thome’s will have on the team.
Power Left-Handed Bat
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Jim Thome is one of the most feared home run hitters in the history of the game. While he’s no longer in the prime of his career, Thome is still an excellent option as a left-handed power bat off the bench.
Thome hit 15 home runs with the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians in 2011, posting an adjusted OPS of 133 (100 is league average). He will be used in a role similar to that of Matt Stairs in 2008 and 2009.
Upgrade over Ross Gload
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With the acquisition of Jim Thome, the Philadelphia Phillies will likely be bidding farewell to Ross Gload. Gload spent two years with the club as a pinch-hitter and reserve first baseman.
He is a good enough hitter (.281 career batting average) but struggled this past season, posting just a .257 average with no home runs. Gload also battled a sports hernia and couldn’t run the bases very well, if at all.
Spell Ryan Howard at First Base
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Jim Thome likely won’t be used as the everyday first baseman during Ryan Howard’s recovery from a torn Achilles tendon. After all, Thome has played just 28 innings in the field since leaving the Phillies following the 2005 season.
What Thome will do, though, is be able to spell Ryan Howard for a game every once in a while without the Phillies losing too much offensive production. Believe it or not, Thome actually posted a higher OPS (.869) than Howard this past season (.835).
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The city of Philadelphia loves Jim Thome. He was a home run machine in the 2003 and 2004 seasons before an injury in 2005 led to the emergence of Ryan Howard.
Thome was subsequently traded to the Chicago White Sox following the year, but there were no hard feelings involved. Thome’s return was met enthusiastically, and even he said in his press conference that coming back to Philly was a “no-brainer.”
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Jim Thome is the kind of guy you want on your team, not only for his play in the field but also his personality. Thome, who was once voted the second friendliest player in baseball, is a terrific addition in the clubhouse.
He’s a hardworking player who is an established veteran. He doesn’t have an ego, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win, whether it is starting regularly or filling in as a pinch-hitter.