The Dodgers sure are cocky!
Jim Thome was acquired by Los Angeles in a trade with the White Sox for minor league infielder Justin Fuller. But, what exactly will be Thome’s role with the Dodgers?
Thome’s Role Only as Pinch Hitter
There’s no guessing here. Manager Joe Torre has already told the media that Thome will be used exclusively as a pinch hitter and he will not play the field. Torre also told Dodgers’ first baseman James Loney that Thome was not coming to LA to take playing time from him.
It makes you wonder why Thome would give up on his no-trade clause to agree to the move, but if you knew Jim Thome, you’d know that he’s the ultimate team player. So, it’s not surprising at all. If the White Sox wanted to make the move, the man with 564 career home runs would agree.
Thome is hitting .252 on the year with 23 homeruns and 74 RBI. It makes you wonder why the White Sox apparently gave up on the season when they are only 6 1/2 games out. Either that or we don’t know something special about Fuller.
Tigers Happy to See Thome Blowing out of Chicago
One team that has to be happy is the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers. Thome has been a Tiger killer. He has 7 homeruns in 41 at bats off Tiger ace Justin Verlander. Against Edwin Jackson, he’s hitting .615 (8 for 13) and against Nate Robertson, the big man is at .391 (9 for 23).
“I paid for his flight out there,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Dodgers Setting World Series Roster Already
Renting a high profile big left-handed bat for a month is rather curious, but it shows just how confident the Dodgers are that they’ll be able to get through the Phillies, Cardinals, and the wild card opponent to the World Series. Would you pick up Thome just for his left-handed pinch hitting ability in September?
Quite frankly, pinch hitting is one of the few things that Thome has not done well in his career. He’s .215 lifetime as a pinch hitter in 82 tries. Last year, Thome had one hit in 10 tries and this year, he has no hits in 8 at bats.
Moreover, Thome has struggled against lefties in his career. He’s hitting .216 this season against southpaws which is something the left-handed dominated Phillies are happy about. You have to wonder what will happen if the Dodgers face a left-hander in an American League park in the World Series. Juan Pierre is hitting .349 against left-handers this year so wouldn’t Pierre in left field and Manny Ramirez as DH makes more sense? It would help the Dodgers defensively and offensively.
Fantasy Baseball Analysis for Jim Thome
Jim Thome is now only a pinch hitter who may see some DH action against right-handers if LA makes the World Series. It’s sad to see that happen to the # 12 all-time home run king.
The fantasy baseball value of Jim Thome is dramatically decreased since the trade from the White Sox to the Dodgers. In most leagues, Thome is not worth keeping on your roster any more. If you play in a National League only set up, it’s unlikely that Thome will be much help in the stretch run.