The Baltimore Orioles traded minor leaguers Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino to acquire Jim Thome from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Thome is coming off a 1.4 WAR year in 2011, which he made just 3 million dollars (below the average 3-5 million dollars per 1 WAR you expect from free agent signings). Thome averaged 1.9 WAR per season from 2009-2011. I thought he would be a good signing for an American League team to use as a DH. Instead, the National League Phillies signed him. He played some out in the field, but wasn’t spectacularly bad. With that said, he shouldn’t be out there. He missed some time with an injury and then was struggling to get at-bats, as the Phillies continued to use Ty Wiggington, who has consistently been one of the worst full-time players in baseball. Thome can still hit, slugging over .500 in his short sample with the Phillies. He should be inserted right into the DH spot for the Orioles and immediately help the offense.
Kyle Simon is the 18th best prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, and is a right handed pitcher with a sort of side arm delivery. According to Kevin Goldstein, he has a plus sinker but really doesn’t miss bats. His secondary pitches are not considered very good. The former 4th round pick had a 4.44 FIP and 4.02 SIERA in 14 games. Over half the balls put in play turn into grounders, while he struck out 6.07 per 9 innings with a 2.60 BB/9IP. For a sidearmer, he really had no platoon splits according to SIERA.
Gabriel Lino is a 19 year old Venezuelan catcher who was in class A. He is reportedly a good defender, with the potential to hit for some power. This year, he hasn’t been very good with the bat, hitting just .218/.282/.340. In the Gulf Coast League last year, he had a .833 OPS with a .180 ISO. He was rated as the 21st best prospect in the system before the season started. He strikes out a lot, doesn’t walk very more and hits more grounders than fly-balls to the outfield.
Jason Giambi of the Colorado Rockies should be the next guy that teams that missed out on Thome should target. Another left-handed bat that provides no defensive value, Giambi has a 114 OPS + in his last 463 plate appearances. For comparison, Carlos Lee, who the Dodgers are trying to acquire, has a 102 OPS + so far this year. Lee provides more defensive value at first, but Giambi is making 1 million dollars this year while Lee is making 18.5 million dollars.