By: Eric Thomas
Reports say the Phillies are looking to deal Jim Thome; there are some rumors that the Tigers are sniffing around. Go for it. You don’t want to give away the farm for a 42 year old slugger, but he certainly fits the Tigers win now mold.
The Rangers series revealed a glaring problem. The Tigers need runs if they are going to compete at the level their payroll suggests. You need guys that get on base you need guys that knock in runs. The next step is to jettison Delmon Young and bring in Thome to DH.
I understand people reticent to get rid of Delmon, a relatively young guy, and bring in Thome who will play this year and next year if you are lucky. I understand if brand me a fool for suggesting the Tigers bring in a guy hitting .246. I understand that people might think that he has nothing left in the tank, because that is the lowest average in his career. I know that Jim Leyland might slap you if you bring up “veteran leadership”.
Jim Thome is exactly what the Tigers need right now, because he gets on base. He brings veteran patience to the plate, and he feels comfortable in AL Central ballparks. He is CERTAINLY comfortable at Comerica. His average is down this year, but his other numbers are good. He walks more that 10% of the time (good). I won’t bore you with nerdy SABERmetrics (wRC+: 131) but trust me, it works. The Tigers need a bat that can actually some runs and Jim Thome does that for the Tigers this year. Not concerned about his batting average because he gets on base.
Many Tiger fans want to name streets after Quintin Berry these days and I understand the sentiment. Berry got called up for a chance to bat in the leadoff spot and add speed. The guy has been on fire ever since. Every single at bat seems causes me to shake my head. This should have been over by now. Most minor league guys get the tape passed around and wind up figured out. That has not happened with Berry. He fits into what the Tigers are doing. He winds up standing on the bag when Miggy and Prince wander up to bat, and that is everything. He has been a panacea for an offense that could not figure out what to do. With Miggy and Prince batting four and five you simply need other guys to create runs.
Thome creates runs. He has killed the Tigers since 1994. He has PLENTY of nice memories he can visit when he comes to Detroit, so why not get him a jersey. The problem, of course, is what you are willing to give up for him? Of course you don’t send them any of the big prospects. It would be awesome if they are willing to send him down the line for the onerous “player to be named later”. The White Sox probably got the better deal when they got Youk but we need to grab Jim Thome. Have him retire a Tiger.
Either way, if the first game of the Devil Rays series was any indication of what the Tigers need to do for the rest of the season, they certainly need to create runs. Not manufacture runs by stealing or sending the runners or bunting or any of that nonsense. They need to get guys on base. They need to score. They need to be the going yard, guy on base team that we all heard they were going to be. Jim Thome gives you that. Now go get Jim Thome.