Expectations Of Thome In Baltimore And What Does The Trade Mean?
The Orioles' acquisition of Jim Thome Saturday would have been a huge move 10 years ago. As is, it's a move with potential -- both for wins and for creating a logjam for Orioles manager Buck Showalter's lineup card.
Showalter now has a series of players -- Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis, Wilson Betemit and Thome -- that aren't a natural for any position. All have power potential. Thome is 41, has a bad back and is past his prime. The Phillies were scaling back his playing time significantly. Thome played in 30 games this season, with five home runs and 15 RBIs. Four of his home runs came in interleague play, so Orioles general manager Dan Duquette may think he can contribute in the American League.
The next home run Thome hits will give him sole possession of seventh place on the all-time home runs list, ahead of former Oriole and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa.
As a left-handed hitter, he's got to be salivating at the short right-field porch in Oriole Park at Camden Yards if he's still got power. Thome has 18 homers during 67 games at Oriole Park.
Much of Thome's success was as a younger man, though. The Orioles just need a half-season of rekindled greatness for a playoff push. If Thome has strength enough in his back, it could happen.
Above all, though, this feels like the first of multiple moves coming. The Birds could ship one of the other players without a true position during the next few weeks, and it's unlikely to be a guy like Davis. Could the O's ship Reynolds and perhaps pitcher Chris Tillman, who is currently playing for Triple-A Norfolk, for another pitcher during the coming weeks? It's a possibility, I think.
Posted July 1, 2012