Phillies Looking to Deal Thome?
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com was told by two American League clubs that the Phillies have made Jim Thome available to AL teams that need a designated hitter.
Thome had his stock rise during interleague play, but he has struggled in a pinch-hitting role with the Phillies this season, going just 1-for-16 with a homer and 11 strikeouts. The main issue with remaining with the Phillies is that he's unable to play first base.
The next question becomes what can the Phillies get for a 41-year old who will only DH?
You would have to think that any conversation will start and end with bullpen help. So here are a couple of names and destinations that could be a fit for Thome.
1. Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics: Balfour is 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 37 games and has seven saves for the Athletics. They could be a player for a wild card spot in the AL, at just five games back as of this writing. As always the A's struggle to score ranking 26th in runs and 29th in slugging percentage - adding Thome would be adding a guy who would be plugged right into the middle of their line-up.
2. Matt Lindstron, Baltimore Orioles: Would the Orioles give up a veteran reliever who is having a breakout season to get some much needed offense? If they really think they can contend in the rugged AL East they are going to need some more punch. Lindstrom is having a great season with a 1.84 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. At 32 years old he might be a guy they are willing to give in on to get a bat like Thome.
3. Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland Indians: The Indians know Thome well and could use some pop in their offense. Current DH Lonnie Chisenhall has three home runs this season but adding Thome could give the Indians a legitimate power source in the middle-of-the-lineup. Pestanao is 27 years old and is having a very solid season, he might be to much for Cleveland to give up, but they could be desperate to make the playoffs and willing to give up a younger bullpen arm for a popular bat from their past.
4. Burke Badenhop, Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays haven't got much production in the DH spot this season and have plenty of pitching depth, so adding a guy like Thome might be attractive to them. Much like Baltimore, the Rays need some more power and Thome could carry this team a a AL East crown, but are they willing to give up a 29-year odl arm for a 41-year old bat - this year, they just might.