The Phillies are making Jim Thome available to American League teams in need of help at designated hitter, two AL executives tell ESPN's Jayson Stark. Ruben Amaro didn't confirm that he was shopping the veteran slugger, but said "if there's a situation out there that benefits both Jim and the Phillies, we'll try to put something together."
"The ideal situation right now, because he can't really play defense in the National League, would be for Jim to play in the American League," Amaro said. "He still has the ability to win a game for us and be productive off the bench. The problem is, the further away he gets from regular at-bats, the more difficult it becomes for him to do that."
Thome spent a month on the DL with a back injury and is just 1-for-16 as a pinch-hitter for Philadelphia this season, but showed he can still produce with regular playing time, hitting .333/.415/.722 with four homers in 41 plate appearances while serving as the Phillies' designated hitter in interleague play. This stretch convinced Thome that he is best suited as a DH and he has told the Phils that he would accept a trade to an AL team if a fit can be found.
Thome's friends say he would prefer to return to one of his former teams, but the Indians and White Sox have their DH spots filled and the Twins will be sellers instead of buyers at the trade deadline. Among AL contenders, the Orioles stand out as having the clearest need for a DH, with the Rays (Luke Scott has struggled and Hideki Matsui hasn't produced much) and Rangers as darkhorse candidates, though Thome would be expendable in Texas once Mitch Moreland returns from the DL in August.