Jim Thome has had a big career, but Jim Thome is only missing a World Series ring to go with it. Thome wasn’t likely to get it with the White Sox this season, so they let Thome go to the Dodgers instead. The surprising Jim Thome deal to the Dodgers was one of many moves before the final trade deadline of the baseball season. Getting Thome, along with Diamondbacks pitcher Jon Garland, signals that the Dodgers are getting their ducks in a row before October.
For the White Sox, dealing Jim Thome and pitcher Jose Contreras signals that they’ve giving up chasing the Tigers in the AL Central.
Jim Thome was traded to the Dodgers late Monday for minor-leaguer Justin Fuller. However, even though Jim Thome can still slug the baseball at 39, this means he cannot be a DH and would have to play at first base, which he hasn’t done for almost three years. Furthermore, the Dodgers already have a first baseman in James Loney, so Thome may just be a pinch hitter on most nights.
But Thome is still capable of swinging the bat, as he now has 564 career home runs, and has 23 home runs this season. The Dodgers are adding Thome for crucial depth, in anticipation of the slug fests to come in October.
Thome is only missing a World Series ring in his career, which he almost got with the Indians in 1995 and 1997. To get it, he may have to help the Dodgers get by one of his old teams in the playoffs, the Phillies. Thome was popular in Philadelphia for a few years, before they had to move him to the White Sox so Ryan Howard could take over at first base.
In addition to Jim Thome, the Dodgers also acquired pitching depth by getting Jon Garland from the Arizona Diamondbacks – the team the Dodgers lost to last night. Garland averages over 6 innings a start, and may provide insurance for the back of the rotation.
While the Dodgers got themselves set for October, the White Sox started what may be a fire sale. The defending AL Central champions are coming off an embarrassing weekend against the Yankees, as the Tigers pull away from them in the division. With manager Ozzie Guillen unable to fire up the Pale Hose, the White Sox got ready for the offseason by trading Thome, and by trading pitcher Jose Contreras to the Rockies.
Contreras has been very disappointing this season, with a mere 5-13 record. But the Rockies plan to use him somehow, as they try to hold off the Giants for the wild card.
The White Sox losses are the gain of the NL West, as the teams in perhaps baseball’s best division prepare for the final playoff push, and beyond.
LA Times- “Dodger Thoughts: Dodgers grab Jim Thome and Jon Garland” latimesblogs.latimes.com/dodgerthoughts/2009/08/dodgers-nab-jim-thome.html
USA TODAY- “White Sox trade Jim Thome and Jose Contrares” www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/2009-09-01-2931768417_x.htm