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Jim Thome To The White Sox

Word from ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago is that the White Sox are talking to the Phillies about Jim Thome.  Apparently the Sox would acquire Thome for some combination of Aaron Rowand, Jose Contreras, and Brandon McCarthy.  The Phillies would pay the "majority" of Thome's contract. 

MLBTradeRumors.com is skeptical to say the least.  We haven't received confirmation yet on which ESPN reporter floated this rumor, but the memory of Bruce Levine announcing an imminent Juan Pierre deal is all too fresh.  As proposed, this is simply way too much value for the White Sox to give up for Thome.

It makes sense for Rowand to be involved - he's at the peak of his perceived value and the Phillies need a centerfielder.  Scott Podsednik could easily slide over to take Rowand's place.  However, a healthy Thome as DH vs. Rowand in center field could easily be equal in value in 2006.  We're talking 5-6 wins from each player.   

While it's true the White Sox potentially have six starting pitchers, the club would be advised not to depend on anything from Orlando Hernandez.  Shipping off Jose Contreras after his dominant second half (2.91 ERA) probably isn't going to happen.  Trading a young player with the promise and affordability of Brandon McCarthy seems equally unlikely.  On the other hand, Kenny Williams did deal top prospect Jeremy Reed to Seattle to acquire Freddy Garcia

Does the money make sense?  The ESPN report claims that the Phillies would be paying the majority of Thome's contract.  Thome is due $12.5MM in 2006 and $14MM in 2007, $14MM in 2008, and a $3MM buyout in 2009.  (Wow, now that's a bad contract).  Would the Phillies really pick up the tab on most of $43.5MM?  I presume we're talking somewhere around $30MM. 

If so, three years of Thome for $4.5MM annually is a solid gamble for the White Sox.  Considering the way U.S. Cellular inflates home run totals for left-handed hitters, 40 HR could turn into 46 pretty easily.  Rowand has yet to reach free agency and is due $3.25MM in '06 with a $5MM club option for '07. 

A trade of Thome and $30MM for Rowand is feasible for the Sox, assuming Thome is healthy.  If the Sox made the ill-advised move to include a starting pitcher, Phillies management could justify the deal.

We'll keep you posted as details surface about these trade talks.

Thanks to Alex.

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Comments

Heard someone on ESPN mention him possibly going to the White Sox last week, but this seems like an awful lot to get back for a guy who may not have much left.

Later on in the day the same reporter retracted his statement and said that he was wrong, the Sox aren't looking to trade starting pitching, and that the trade is Rowand and 2 minor leaguers.

Yes, it looks like Bruce Levine has changed his tune. I'll try to find out which minor leaguers.

Keep in mind several things: 1.) bruce levine is extremely well-connected to the brass of both chicago teams. I've met him, and seen him interact with them. Just because he said something was "imminent" and it didn't materialize doesn't mean that it wasn't imminent. 2.) rowand IS on the block, but not because podsednik can slide over, rather, but because brian anderson, last year rated their top prospect but most likely #2 this year, has been tabbed to start in center for them. So podsednik will stay in left, with anderson in right. This trade makes A LOT of sense because thome is an IL native and would love to play closer to home.

that post was riddled with errors, gramatical and factual, so let's try this again.

Rowand gets traded, anderson takes his spot in center, with podsednik staying in left. Then Thome slips into the dh role. I think the bigger question is whether konerko is still brought back if thome is in black . . .

Hey Charles. I didn't mean to imply anything negative about Levine - I like him a lot. I agree that it's not his fault or erroneous if a rumor he reports does not come true.

According to Baseball America's Prospect Handbook, "Anderson may not be more than adequate in center field, a position where adequate usually isn't good enough."

Still, I think you're right because Podsednik is not a great CF.

It's certainly a huge insurance policy against Konerko and it does take away some of his leverage.

Olney says the deal is on the verge of completion:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/index

that note in BA about anderson is dated. They liked what they saw from him this past year and are ready to let him play. I've seen that multiple places, including talk of the pierre trade, with rowand being the centerpiece of the deal.

One other note on this: because rowand was to be the centerpiece with pierre, it makes him heading to the sox (then swung somewhere else) much less likely. I think that puts the cubs in the driver's seat for him. I still think they'd be better off to have pierre lead off and furcal bat 2nd (if all that comes together) but we'll see . . .

Lot of talk about Pierre in Chicago. As a Cubs fan, I'd love to see him end up with the Sox. Then we could hear about speed and defense for another year even though it has little to do with the team's success.

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