Jim Thome Rumors
Jim Thome is MLB's active leader in walks (1,747) and strikeouts (2,548) and is second in homers (612), and he hopes to pad those totals further in 2013. The slugger told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he is not retired and is open to playing next season.
"I’m not retired," said Thome. "If someone wants me to play, I’d consider it for sure. I feel good. If I didn’t feel good, I wouldn’t even consider it. But I feel good. I’d like to play."
Thome, 42, acknowledged that he fits best as a DH, but he is willing to consider a role with an NL team if the opportunity presents itself. "I still feel like I can give a team a veteran presence and get a big hit off the bench," he added.
Just last week we heard that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and Orioles GM Dan Duquette were unsure if Thome would continue playing. The former Indians first baseman split last season between Philadelphia and Baltimore, hitting .252/.344/.442 with eight homers in 186 plate appearances while also missing time with back problems. Thome started four games at first base in 2012, his most action in the field since 2005.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed suitors for Zack Greinke and the developing infield market on the latest Rosters and Rumblings podcast. Click here to listen in. Read on for some free agent notes...
- Agent Scott Boras seemingly took shots at Boston's Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli signings in his explanation of closer Rafael Soriano's demands, telling reporters including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, "We're seeing mid-level players make $13 million a year. The value of a closer, you would have to argue, has historically been more valuable than what you see in mid-level players." Apparently in reference to Tigers' plan to use Bruce Rondon, Boras said, "You can count on one hand the number of closers under the age of 23 that have ever gone to the big leagues and put together 30 saves, let alone pitch in the postseason and be effective." It has actually only happened twice, with Neftali Feliz in 2010 and Huston Street in 2006. If we include age-23 seasons, seven more stoppers join the list and Feliz appears again.
- Jim Thome remains undecided on whether to play in 2013, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- 11 teams have expressed interest in free agent lefty John Lannan for potential Major League jobs, hears Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The 28-year-old has drawn interest from the Mets, Twins, and Pirates, based on previous reports.
The Orioles have shown interest in Brett Myers, who plans to pitch as a starter in 2013, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Twins and Royals are among the other American League teams in on the right-hander. Here's more on the O's..
- General manager Dan Duquette is confident that the team won't need to trade for an outfielder given the amount of options available via free agency, Morosi writes. The team would like to add an outfielder so that Chris Davis could move back to first base or DH.
- Duquette spoke with reporters at the meetings and said that the team still has interest in re-signing Nate McLouth and Joe Saunders, Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun tweets. Duquette added that the club has not had contact with Jim Thome and is not sure if he intends to play next season.
- The O's feel good about their second base options and their priority remains trading for a middle-of-the-order bat, according to Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Manager Buck Showalter has narrowed the third base coach search down and hopes to have it done by the end of the meetings, Encina tweets.
The Yankees are not talking about a potential Alex Rodriguez trade with the Marlins, according to GM Brian Cashman. Cashman said Keith Olbermann’s report about trade talks is "not true," according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. It’d be an unusual time to discuss a trade, as the Yankees are still in the playoffs and the Marlins have uncertainty in their front office. On to today’s links...
- Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Jim Thome "did a nice job" in Baltimore and "added a real veteran presence,” Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. Thome sounds undecided about his next step, but he could re-sign with Baltimore this coming offseason. Making room for him on the roster could require some creativity on the part of Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
- Baseball executives Brian Sabean (Giants GM), Dan O'Dowd (Rockies GM) and J.P. Ricciardi (Mets special assistant) agree that Marco Scutaro is a talented played with toughness, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Giants infielder stayed in the game to deliver a key hit after being knocked down by Matt Holliday’s overly aggressive slide in the second game of the NLCS.
- Brian McCann could miss the beginning of the 2013 season to recover from shoulder surgery, so the $12MM club option on his contract presents the Braves with a quandary, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. McCann doesn’t have much to worry about in Olney’s estimation. Either the Braves bring the 28-year-old back or he hits free agency and draws interest from many teams, especially AL clubs looking at him as a catcher/DH.
- It's too soon to know if the Braves will pick up the option, but MLB.com's Mark Bowman would guess that McCann will be back.
Stephen Strasburg may not be there, but the Nationals are going to the playoffs. The Nats clinched a postseason berth with tonight's 4-1 win over the Dodgers and now have a magic number of eight to clinch the NL East. This is the franchise's first postseason appearance since reaching the NLCS (as the Expos) in 1981, and the first time a Washington baseball team has made the postseason since the Senators played in the 1933 World Series.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic talks to several executives and scouts about Justin Upton's trade value, with the general consensus being that the Diamondbacks can still command a high price for the outfielder, though Upton's disappointing 2012 campaign has hurt his value. Opinion was split on whether the D'Backs or Rangers would have to add players in such a possible Upton-for-Elvis Andrus deal.
- Upton discusses his season, his career development and his feelings about the trade rumors in an extensive profile by Robert Sanchez of ESPN The Magazine.
- John Axford believes the Zack Greinke trade was the inspiration for the Brewers' surprising turn-around, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Since Greinke was dealt to the Angels on July 27, the Brewers have surged back into the NL wild card race with a 32-18 record, including today's win over the Pirates. "Personally, I thought it was going to be more motivation for certain guys," Axford said. "There wasn't ever a thought on this team that this was a lost season. It was disappointing for a while....But there's no guy on this team that's going to lie down and give up. It's shown recently."
- "The sense now is that some teams would still be willing to take [Yunel Escobar] on provided he delivers a proper penance first," writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi. Escobar is scheduled to return on Friday from his three-game suspension for wearing eye black that contained a homophobic slur. This incident could spur Escobar's departure from Toronto, especially since the Blue Jays have promising shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria waiting in the wings.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden lists ten of the top managerial candidates, a compilation that includes nine men who have never managed at the Major League level and two-time World Series winner Terry Francona. Two names on Bowden's list (Tim Bogar and Dave Martinez) are reportedly the top candidates to become the Astros' new manager.
- Jim Thome's quest for a World Series ring has surprisingly taken him to the Orioles instead of the Phillies, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, but the slugger has dropped hints that 2012 may not be his last season.
- Derek Jeter told ESPN's Rick Reilly (passed on by Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News) that he would potentially be open to playing for a team besides the Yankees once his current contract expires. "Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes," Jeter said. "It's a business. People forget that." Jeter is under contract through the 2013 season with an $8MM player option for 2014; the shortstop turns 40 years old in June 2014.
The Orioles defeated the Mariners tonight to draw within a half game of one of the American League's Wild Card spots. In what most consider to be a shocking season, the second-place Orioles trail the Yankees by 5 1/2 games following New York's loss to the Tigers. Here are some links pertaining to the division...
- "We are not making a change at manager," Red Sox principal owner John Henry told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford via email. Henry wrote that managers often get too much credit and also too little credit for what happens on the field.
- WEEI's Alex Speier tweeted a quote from Red Sox GM Ben Cherington that echoed Henry's sentiment, though Cherington stopped short of saying how long Valentine's Boston tenure would last (Twitter links).
- Orioles DH Jim Thome was told to refrain from baseball activities for 30 days, reports MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. With an early September return questionable at best, he may be more interested in coming back for another season, according to Ghiroli (Twitter links).
- An Orioles team official told Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com that the team doesn't have interest in Derek Lowe, who was recently DFA'ed by the Indians (Twitter link). Cleveland is said to be exploring trade options for Lowe.
The Orioles have acquired veteran slugger Jim Thome from the Phillies for Single-A prospects Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino, both teams have announced. O's GM Dan Duquette told reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com) that the two sides had been talking for about a week before finalizing the trade on Saturday (Twitter link).
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recently disclosed that he was open to moving Thome if there was a deal that made sense for both the slugger and the team. After his recent strong showing at designated hitter during interleague play, Thome was on board with joining an American League club in need of a bat. Philadelphia had been reportedly shopping him to teams in need of a DH and the O's fit the bill.
Thome, 41, is hitting .242/.338/.516 with five homers in 71 plate appearances this season. Most of that damage has come as the DH during interleague play, including a 6-for-13 showing during a three-game series in Camden Yards earlier this month. Thome missed more than a month with a back strain earlier this season.
Baltimore's designated hitters have hit a solid .258/.349/.439 this season, though they've rotated between Nick Johnson, Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis, and others. Johnson was recently placed on the DL with a wrist problem, so Thome gives them a replacement left-handed bat, one that should provide more power. The Orioles designated left-hander Zach Phillips for assignment in a corresponding move to free up a 40-man roster spot.
Simon, 21, was Baltimore's fourth round pick in last year's draft. The right-hander has pitched to a 3.96 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 14 starts and 72 2/3 innings down in A-ball this year. Baseball America ranked him as the Orioles' 18th best prospect before the season in their Prospect Handbook, saying Simon "should be an innings-eating starter." He was originally drafted by Joe Jordan, the Phillies farm director who was previously with the Orioles.
Lino, a 19-year-old backstop, is hitting .218/.282/.340 in 227 plate appearances down in Low Class-A this year. Baseball America ranked him as Baltimore's 21st best prospect before the season in their Prospect Handbook, noting that he offers power potential but is raw behind the plate.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com first reported that the two sides were in talks while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the trade agreement (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Rosenthal later added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
The Phillies and Orioles are talking seriously about a deal involving Jim Thome, a source tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recently disclosed that he's open to moving the veteran if there is a deal that makes sense for both the slugger and the team.
After Thome's recent strong showing at designated hitter during interleague play, he is on board with joining an American League club in need of a bat. The Phillies have been reportedly been shopping Thome to teams in need of a DH and a team like the O's would fit the bill.
This post was originally published on June 30th.
Last year's Phillies team comfortably led the Major Leagues in run prevention by allowing just 3.27 runs per game. It's been a different story so far in 2012. Just seven teams surrender more runs than the last-place Phillies, who are averaging 4.46 runs allowed per game. Here's the latest from the NL East...
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney considers some possible fits for Jim Thome, who's being shopped to American League teams.
- There hasn't been any progress in the Phillies' contract talks with Cole Hamels, Olney writes. Hamels' contract expires after the 2012 season.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. must address the Phillies' bullpen issues relatively soon, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. It's "pretty damn difficult" to develop inexperienced pitchers and win simultaneously, manager Charlie Manuel noted.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Greg Cote of the Miami Herald that he believes the 35-40 Marlins have a spectacular club. “It’s a playoff-caliber team, absolutely,” Loria said. “We’re going to have our run."
- D.C. is starting to feel like home for Bryce Harper, and he'd like to continue playing for the Nationals for a long time, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes. “You look at Cal Ripken. You look at Derek Jeter. You look at all the greats that played for one team their whole career,” Harper has said. “I want to be like that. I’ve always wanted to be like that. I’ve always wanted to play with that same team.”
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.