Say what you want about Jim Thome. Say every-time he goes tot he plate he’ll be swinging for 600 or that he can leg any double into a single but don’t say the other options at DH are any better in Chicago.
The White Sox appeared to be ready to enter the season with some sort of platoon at DH revolving around everyday players Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin as well as Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay.
Of course the idea of a reunion with Jim Thome has always been there and finally it appears the two sides may be moving towards one even though the White Sox denied interest as recently as two days ago.
Thome would best be used against right handed pitching only. Last year he hit .262/.383/.498 against right handers while he hit just .209/.314/.429 against lefties.
Over the past four season Thome has played in 546 games and has posted a .265/.390/.539 line all while hitting 134 homers with 372 RBI. Never-mind he only appeared in 124 games last season, that was in large part to the lack of a position to put Thome at for a National League club. With that being said it’s obvious Thomes numbers were to take a drop last season but it’s worth noting Thome still averaged a home run ever 4.6 games while a member of the White Sox, a number that is up just a tad from his 4.3 in 2008 when he hit 34 homers.
Obviously the man can still swing it.
The knock against Thome is his lack of speed. None of the aforementioned players have any speed to speak of either.
While Konerko and Quentin figure to have everyday positions the players who would be most effected by the White Sox signing Thome are Jones and Kotsay. Kotsay originally was brought back to serve as a backup at first base, while Jones was the early choice for DH. Jones could be used to play the corner outfield spots to allow Carlos Quentin a day off or in case Juan Pierre struggles.
Mark Kotsay isn’t the type of player who you guarantee 500 at-bats to. Kotsay hasn’t had double digit steals since 2002 and has never hit more then 15 homers in a season. Andruw Jones may have been a nice first half story last year and while he did hit 17 homers he finished with a dismal .214/.323/.459 line which hardly screams reason to get at-bats until he proves otherwise. Any scenario that would garner Omar Vizquel at-bats will ultimately weaken the offense and unless the organization changes it’s opinion of Tyler Flowers that wouldn’t figure to be a bunch of offense coming from the DH spot.
Simply put Thome’s numbers from last season far exceeded the current options on the White Sox for DH. It’s time a deal gets done just don’t let him play against lefties and there will be no problems.
The White Sox have tried to compare their plans for the DH role to those of the Los Angeles Angels. The problem is the Angels have 10 players who can produce, the White Sox do not. All of those players would be in the Angels lineup at some position on any given day. The White Sox would use the DH to give days off from the field and in turn put in a weaker player who normally would be used in a bench role.
Say what you want but the talent level is not the same between the two teams. No matter how you say it or try to write it down the White Sox gather no additional team speed no matter who they put in the DH role so they might as well go with the guy who can hit the ball best and against right handers that means signing Jim Thome is a no-brainer.