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Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Will Carroll On Jim Thome
... in today's UTK:
There's a story going around that after signing off on the trade to the Dodgers, Jim Thome asked if they knew he couldn't play the field. I'm not sure if it's true—and no one would confirm it—but there's a big difference between "shouldn't" and "can't." Thome is reportedly of the opinion that he could only play the field in an emergency, and that standing for long periods can aggravate his back. The Dodgers seem to understand this and don't seem flustered to have acquired a guy who now figures to have somewhere between 20 and 30 plate appearances in a division chase. Even with the roster expansion negating any bench issues, and with the White Sox picking up some of his salary, this is a move that has me scratching my head. I can't help but think that Thome is either going to ask or be asked to do a bit more, risking injury. One possibility is to use the "McGwire model" that Tony LaRussa employed for a week or so in the next-to-last season of Mark McGwire's career, sending him to bat once in the first inning and then pulling him for the "real" first baseman.
20-30 plate appearances from Thome is better than 20-30 plate appearances from anyone the Dodgers had on their bench.