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Tag:Jim Thome
Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Hafner to DL, Thome rumors sure to ramp up

By Matt Snyder

Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner pulled up lame Sunday after a single and had to leave the game immediately after being tagged out. He was diagnosed with a strained right foot and Monday the Indians put him on the disabled list (Jordan Bastian via Twitter).

Hafner, 34, has continued to be plagued by injuries, as he hasn't played more than 120 games since 2007. He's hitting .281/.364/.448 in 82 games this season with 11 home runs.

The timing of this injury creates quite a bit of interest in the trade market. Former Indians DH Jim Thome hit waivers Monday, so teams have 48 hours to get their claims in. Considering Thome's name goes through the American League first, and in reverse order of record, the Indians have a very good shot at Thome, if they want him. The list of the teams possibly interested in Thome includes members of the NL or AL teams with a better record than the 62-61 Indians.

The Indians trail the Tigers by 4 1/2 games in the AL Central, after having been swept in Detroit this past weekend. Still, there's more than a month left in the season. Barring a trade, the Indians are left grabbing DH's from the group of bench players that includes: Jason Donald, Jack Hannahan, Shelley Duncan (if he returns to the team from his leave of absence) or a host of other uninspiring names.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Thome hits waivers, could be traded

By Matt Snyder

Twins designated hitter Jim Thome -- who recently joined an elite group of sluggers by hitting his 600th career home run -- has been placed on waivers (Ken Rosenthal via Twitter). So it's possible he could be traded within the next week.

Yes, there was a trade deadline back on July 31, but it's a non-waiver deadline. In the month of August, players who clear waivers can be traded. Also, players could be claimed via the waivers process and then traded to the team that claimed them.

Rosenthal reports that the Phillies want Thome, but seeing as how they have the best record in baseball -- and, thus, the last shot at him in the waivers process -- it's very doubtful he makes it to them. What about a return to Cleveland for Thome? With Travis Hafner going on the disabled list Monday, it's possible the Tribe ends up with an opening at DH. Going back to Cleveland, where Thome spent the first 12 years of his career, would be a nice story and give the Indians an obvious offensive upgrade. Thome has an .868 OPS with 12 home runs this season in just 230 plate appearances.

The Yankees could also be interested in an upgrade at DH, while the Giants and Braves would certainly benefit from some punch off the bench.

Rosenthal also reports Carlos Pena, Jason Kubel and Heath Bell hit waivers Monday.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: August 19, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 7:31 pm
 

Jim Thome could be traded; Phillies a fit?

ThomeBy Evan Brunell

The Phillies have been on the hunt for a pinch-hitter to help do damage off the bench down the stretch drive and into October. If all breaks well, Philadelphia will then need that pinch-hitter to DH during the Fall Classic.

That person could be Jim Thome, who had been linked to Philadelphia earlier this season along with Jason Giambi. When Thome went nowhere at the trade deadline and Giambi hit the DL, Philadelphia signed Jack Cust to a minor-league deal after being released from the Mariners, but he's only an option, not the answer.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune baseball writer LaVelle E. Neal III, via the Philadelphia Daily News, reported he's heard "indications [Twins management] would be willing to accommodate" Thome if he wanted to move to a team with a chance to play in October. Given it's entirely possible this could be Thome's final season, the slugger could ask for such a move. It wouldn't be the first time Thome's moved to the NL to come off the bench, as he agreed to play for the Dodgers down the stretch in 2009, after being moved from the White Sox. While Thome was careful to choose his words when asked about the possibility of asking for a trade, the first baseman and DH offered up all you need to know.

"When you've gone to two World Series and you haven't won it, it eats at you and that's one thing that is still there," Thome said.

Despite playing for Philadelphia for just three years before the arrival of Ryan Howard, Thome holds special importance in the city. He is very close with skipper Charlie Manuel and helped change the perception of the Phillies as a down-and-out team when he joined them as a free agent after the 2002 season.  When he was later dealt to the White Sox for a return of Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez (who later fetched Freddy Garcia before the 2007 season) and a minor-leaguer, the move was credited for helping Philadelphia begin the most successful chapter in Phillies history.

It's not clear if Philadelphia will look to add Thome, but if so, it will have to happen on or before Aug. 31, the day that teams must set the pool of players they can draw from for the postseason. Of course, other teams in the postseason hunt in need of bench help could also chase Thome. The Yankees could upgrade their DH spot with Thome, while Atlanta, Milwaukee and San Francisco would love to use Thome in the same capacity Philadelphia would.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Thome says he's 'guilty by association'

Jim ThomeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jim Thome's now the eighth member of the 600 home run club, but as we've discussed many times, that club is less celebrated now than it used to be because it includes the likes of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa.

All three of those players have been attached to allegations of performance-enhancing drugs, while Thome hasn't. But Thome, along with Ken Girffey Jr., have achieved their 600 home runs during the so-called steroid era. Thome, speaking on the Dan Patrick Show (via SportsRadioInterviews.com), said all players from this era will live with a cloud of suspicion, including himself.

"I've said this and I've been very open about this, I think what has happened is there have been a lot of guys to pay the price," Thome said. "My thing was not every guy in that era did it and not every guy has done it. There were guys in our time that did it the right way. I think that has maybe been the effect on today's game as far as people have a hard time saying 'did this guy do it? Did this guy do it?' There's always going to be that question mark no question."

Thome was then asked if he would question Jim Thome and his accomplishments.

"Sure. I mean yeah absolutely," Thome said. "Again you're kinda guilty by association in an era, in a time when guys did it. That's what feels so good. I talk to you about the journey, the journey to get there and what it took to get there and the people that worked with you and how hard you worked to get there."

And Thome's right. Look at any accomplishment these days and they will be questioned -- whether it's Thome's 600 home runs or Jose Bautista's turnaround -- people are going to start talking about steroids or HGH. Thome's smart enough to know that and smart enough to acknowledge it. 

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Signing deadline needs to be moved up

Bubba Starling

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The last couple of days showed us some of the best of baseball, five walkoffs on Tuesday, Jim Thome's 600th home run on Monday, triple plays both Monday and Tuesday and so much more. But Monday night we saw one of the things that needs to be fixed, and that's the signing deadline for draft picks.

Yesterday I touched on this, but I suggested just moving it from midnight to a more reasonable hour. That was a selfish wish. Hall of Famer George Brett tells the Kansas City Star that the deadline needs to be moved up more than a month to something like July 4.

The reason is simple, the development of players is stunted by a year and the posturing could hurt players. According to Brett, the Royals and Scott Boras, the "advisor" for their top pick, Bubba Starling, didn't even start talking until 10:30 p.m. on Monday night. The two sides then agreed to a deal with 20-40 seconds left, Brett said.

"If they made the deadline July 4, these guys would sign July 4 and the guy would jump on the plane and play some real baseball rather than go to Arizona when the season is almost over after not picking up a ball and a bat for how long … and playing football … he's not baseball ready," Brett told the newspaper. "It's going to take him a while." 

Instead of playing baseball and cashing checks, Starling was working out with the Nebraska football team as a negotiating ploy, showing that he was "serious" that he'd turn down millions of dollars to play football. He was also risking injury and his future with no guarantee.

That said, with the way money was thrown around on Monday night, it seems to make little sense to sign early. The teams showed that players who wait to sign until the deadline will be rewarded. An agent I spoke to on Tuesday said he's had players sign early in the past -- which is all well and good for the teams, but did he do his players' a disservice by not waiting until the end? In his previous cases, no, it was still the right thing to do. But next time? When the 27th player picked gets $800,000 above slot, the waiting game pays. That's not going to change, the way to fix that it to shorten the wait.

Pirates' booty: Speaking of the draft signings, the Pirates spent $17 million in signing bonuses for their draft picks. While there are negatives, for Pittsburgh, this is a positive. For many years teams like the Royals and Pirates wouldn't draft the best available player in the draft, instead drafting the best available player that would fit into their budget. The Royals gave Bubba Starling a huge contract and the Pirates gave out several, including an $8 million signing bonus to No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole and $5 million for second-rounder Josh Bell. Last season we heard about how the Pirates weren't spending their luxury tax gains, but now we see an actual plan and owner Bob Nutting is putting money into the team. [MLB.com]

Right player, wrong position: Living in Cincinnati I've seen this before -- teams in MLB will often pick the best player available in the draft, regardless of position, now Yonder Alonso is in the big leagues with the Reds and has little to do because Joey Votto isn't going to sit the bench for him. The Nationals saw a player some considered to be the best in the draft fall to them and couldn't pass up Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, despite already having a 26-year-old at third base in Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals are happy to have Rendon and let that problem play out. [MASNSports.com]

Bundy eyes 2013: Orioles first-round pick Dylan Bundy said his plan is to be in the big leagues in 2013. The right-hander would be 20 in 2013. Brett would tell him if he was serious about that, he maybe should have signed sooner. [Baltimore Sun]

Overrated Howard: Baseball-Reference.com's Sean Forman made the argument in the New York Times that Philadelphia's Ryan Howard is not an elite hitter. The bigger argument was about overvaluing the RBI -- the stat that Howard provides much of Howard's worth. It does certainly help that he plays for the Phillies and has some pretty decent players in front of him in the lineup.

Umps visit kids: Jerry Meals may be Public Enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh, but not to 3-year-old Emily Berger. Berger, who had undergone surgery on Monday, was one of the children visited by a group of MLB umpires to visit a children's hospital on Tuesday. Meals, who famously blew the call at home plate to end a 19-inning game in Atlanta for Pittsburgh loss, and the rest of his crew hosted a Build-A-Bear workshop for dozens of children. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Sizemore improving: The Indians hope Grady Sizemore can return next month after he started baseball activities on Tuesday as part of his rehab from a right knee injury and a sports hernia surgery. [MLB.com]

Granderson's rare feat: Curtis Granderson has a shot at leading the American League in homers and triples. The last player to do that was Jim Rice in 1978. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Mariners doing well: Jack Zduriencik won the offseason according to many before the 2010 season, and we saw how that worked. But even with that in hindsight, it appears Zduriencik has had a good couple of weeks despite his team's fall in the standings over the last two months. [Seattle Times]

More Thome: If you haven't had enough of Jim Thome (and really, it's not like we've even got to a tenth of the DJ3K madness yet), his hometown paper, the Peoria JournalStar put together a fantastic package looking back on his life and career. Make sure you check it out.

Give the people what they want: Nice job by the Brewers' promotion department with the announcement of  "Tony Plush Rally Towels" for the Sept. 9 game against the Phillies. "Tony Plush" is the "gentleman's name" of outfielder Nyjer Morgan. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Bashing Boise: No, not the Broncos and their "Smurf turf," but the city's Class A team -- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Boise's Memorial Stadium is "below standard." [Chicago Tribune]

Pros vs. G.I. Joes: Some White Sox players are playing video games with soldiers online. [MLB.com]

Hi, bye: Outfielder Jonny Gomes was traded from the Reds to the Nationals last month, but he wasn't informed until just before the Reds' game started, meaning he wasn't able to say goodbye to his teammates in Cincinnati. Now a member of the Nationals, Gomes got to say both hello and goodbye to the Reds when the team started their series in Washington. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Cut those sideburns: Monday was the 20th anniversary of Don Mattingly sitting out a game for refusing to cut his hair. [MLB.com]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 11:25 am
 

Condom company honors Thome

Jim ThomeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

We here at Eye on Baseball have bemoaned the lack of excitement about Jim Thome's 600 homers several times, but apparently there is at least one company that's… uh… excited… by Thome's feat, NuVo condoms.

This release hit the inbox of a CBSSports.com editor:

Jim Thome has reason to celebrate today after hitting his 600th homerun last night versus the Detroit Tigers. As a congratulatory gift for Thome’s incredible feat, NuVo sent the Minnesota Twins 600 condoms. NuVo hopes this offering to the team will help keep the Twins players and their partners safe during their celebrations. The Minnesota Twins
aren’t the only people that the NüVo team is looking out for – NüVo has already distributed over 200,000 free condoms this year alone. You can always hit a home run with NuVo Condoms!

Sure, it's a cheap stunt in hopes of getting blogs to write about their product (success!), but, yeah… hey, if they think Jim Thome can help sell them condoms, more power to them, I guess. Anyway, this is the same company that sent a "year supply" of condoms to Justin Bieber, so it's hardly new to the publicity stunt game.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 9:54 am
 

Pepper: Thome's quiet run to the Hall of Fame

Jim Thome

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I don't think there's any doubt Jim Thome will be in the Hall of Fame, but I did find it interesting that my wife had never heard of Thome.

The guy hits 600 home runs and the wife of someone whose life revolves around baseball had never heard of him. How is that possible? I thought chicks dug the long ball. 

Much of it, I guess, is that my wife is a National League kinda gal -- having been born in raised in  Braves country and now living in Cincinnati, the wife doesn't see much American League or even pay much attention to it. But still, Jim Thome?  I went through the teams -- Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins -- nope, not a flicker of recognition. The 1995 World Series when the Braves won? Well, He did only go 4 for 19 in the series.

It seems strange that she'd never heard of him, but it also seems to jibe with the relative silence of Thome's march to 600. Is it because Thome has always just been a quiet professional? He's never been in trouble, never even pounded his own chest. He's just been quietly hitting home runs and doing his job, day in and day out.

It's not that he's never been on the biggest stage, he's played in 67 postseason games and made it to two World Series, hitting one homer in 1995 and two in the '97 Series.

My friend Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has a funny theory of the Hall of Fame -- for him it's all about the fame. If his mother has heard of someone, they belong. If she hasn't, no. So for KG's Hall of Fame, Paul Molitor is out, but Jose Canseco is in. Rod Carew? Nope. Bo Jackson, yes. I'm pretty sure Thome doesn't hit the fame standard, but he certainly belongs in the Hall.

Here's a couple of better articles putting his candidacy in perspective -- Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated has the backstory of Thome's bat point at the pitcher and other things in a great blog post and Steven Goldman has the argument against Thome being a mere "compiler."

Meals in Pittsburgh: Umpire Jerry Meals made his first appearance at PNC Park in Pittsburgh since his bad call that cost the Pirates a 19-inning game against the Braves. As you would expect, he was not greeted kindly by Pirates fans. Since the call, the Pirates have lost 15 of 19 and fallen from a tie for first place to fourth place in the National League Central. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Silly deadline: I understand why there's a deadline for signing draft picks and I even understand why it's in August, but I don't understand why it's at midnight. I talked to a scouting director on Sunday (and because it wasn't the Blue Jays' scouting director, he signed his first-round guy) and he said there's zero movement until late on Monday. On Sunday, there'd been no movement, but because these things go down to the wire, why not make move the wire up to a reasonable hour? How about 5 p.m. so you can announce it before a game and have everything all tidy? They've done that with the trade deadline, now with the increased focus on the draft, they need to do it on the signing deadline.

Full moon in Cooperstown: Did Robin Yount give Bert Blyleven an unusual greeting to the Hall of Fame? [FanGraphs.com

Scranton is nice in September: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it's unlikely the team would call up top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos when rosters expand in September. [New York Post]

Nicasio visits teammates: Juan Nicasio, who suffered a broken neck on Aug. 5, visited his Rockies teammates before Monday's game in Denver. Closer Houston Street told the Denver Post that Nicasio was "full of life," smiling and laughing with teammates. 

Career cut short: A Padres  prospect had to retire from baseball at 22 because of an inner-ear problem. Read all about Drew Cumberland. [Pensacola News-Journal]

Another good guy: This seems to fit with the Thome celebration, but if Thome's not the nicest guy in the game, Torii Hunter may be. Like Thome, I've never heard anyone say a bad thing about Hunter. In fact, I have a sportswriter friend who has a long list of people he doesn't like, but he named his dog Torii in honor of Hunter. Here's a good story about one of the good guys from ESPN.com's Jim Caple.

Read this: A really good story this weekend from the New York Daily News about baseball and Sept. 11. Go read it.

It's gotta be the shoes: Evan Longoria's new spikes have made a huge difference for the Rays' third baseman. [MLB.com]

Literary touch: I've only been to Safeco once (well, three games, one series), so I don't know all the ins and outs. I will say I love the park, but maybe even more so after seeing this from the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham -- the park has baseball-themed quotations on all its gates to the park. That's just so darn cool.

Murph blogs: One of the most interesting baseball blogs around right now is from former MVP Dale Murphy, who is enjoying blogging and Twitter. [New York Times]

New caps: Gone, apparently, are the ugly stars and stripes trucker caps to make a buck, and in their place for Sept. 11 will be simple American flag patches. It's certainly an improvement, but still not sure why everyone needs to be reminded what country they live in -- shouldn't the butchered version of the Star Spangled Banner by some American Idol-wannabe before the game be enough? 

New caps 2: That said, I do think it's cool that the Nationals will wear a cap with the Navy SEALs logo tonight to honor the 22 SEALs killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6. It's the Nationals' first game back in Washington since the attack. [Washington Post]

Odd sight: There was something odd on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio -- empty seats. Home of professional sports' longest sellout streak, Dayton's Fifth Third Field had empty seats on Sunday as the Dragons and Lake County Captains played a continuation of Tuesday's suspended game was played before the regularly scheduled Sunday game. However, once that game started, the Dragons had their 832nd consecutive sellout. [Dayton Daily News]

Step back for Carter: Sad news today, as Gary Carter learned of a "mild step backward" on Monday, as a doctor's visit revealed his white blood cell count was low, which means he won't be able to start a scheduled round of chemotherapy that he was supposed to start today. [ESPN.com]

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Posted on: August 16, 2011 1:55 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 2:02 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Thome owned the night



By Matt Snyder


Jim Thome, Twins. What a day for one of the most respected players in baseball. Thome went 3-4 with five RBI in a Twins' 9-6 victory. Among those three hits were two home runs, meaning he now has 600 in his illustrious career. He's much more than just a home run hitter, too, so let's give him all the respect and adulation he deserves.

Mike Carp, Mariners. Don't look now, but the Mariners have a cleanup hitter. Long gone is Jack Cust and they don't have to use Adam Kennedy there anymore, either. Carp has locked down that lineup slot as he's presently on fire. The 25 year old went 2-4 with a pair of home runs Monday night, including an eighth-inning shot that tied the game at five. He's now 36-for-97 (.371) with six home runs and 26 RBI since rejoining the lineup July 19. Between Carp, Casper Wells and Dustin Ackley, the Mariners seem to have a good, young core of offensive players for the future.

Ryan Doumit, Pirates. The catcher tied a career high with four hits, as he went 4-4 with a three-run homer in a 6-2 win over the Cardinals. He's now 10-for-23 (.435) since coming off the disabled list. Considering the Pirates have fallen out of the race and at least one contending team -- the Giants -- wouldn't mind an offensive upgrade at catcher for this year, he's an intriguing name in terms of a possible trade candidate through the waivers process this month.

Bonus Up: Jason Isringhausen of the Mets recorded his 300th career save Monday night in San Diego. He's the 23rd man in baseball history to achieve the feat and only Mariano Rivera and Francisco Cordero among active players have more.



Brian Wilson, Giants. The Giants were all set to move within 1 1/2 games of the Diamondbacks in the NL West when Wilson coughed this one up. He was spotted a 4-2 lead, but ended up walking off the field with a 5-4 loss. Three singles and two walks amounted to three earned runs, the blown save and the loss for The Beard.

Marlins' 9th inning. It was a rough inning for Jack McKeon's club. The Marlins went into the ninth with a 4-3 lead over the Rockies and closer Leo Nunez coming into the game. Dexter Fowler hit what reads in the box score as a double, but it was actually a flare that no one could get to. When Marlins third baseman Greg Dobbs ended up with the ball at second base, Fowler was slipping between first and second and was a sitting duck. Dobbs then fired an errant throw in an attempt to cut down Fowler, which instead allowed Fowler to reach second base. “Hindsight being 20-20, I should have held the ball and ran at him,” Dobbs said after the game (Fish Tank). A Carlos Gonzalez double plated Fowler to tie the game. McKeon then elected to intentionally walk Troy Tulowitzki and bring in left-handed specialist Randy Choate to face left-handed hitting Jason Giambi. It was certainly the right move on paper, but Giambi hit a three-run, walk-off homer. Basically, Lady Luck was not on the side of the Marlins in the ninth.

The Angels. They lost a young starting pitcher to a groin injury in the first inning, gave up eight runs on 14 hits and committed three errors against the Rangers Monday night. Oh, and the Angels also fell five games behind the Rangers in the AL West. There are three games left in the series, but that could mean bad news if the Angels don't wake up. Otherwise they're liable to see themselves eight games back by the weekend, especially if they play the way they did Monday.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com