Saturday, November 5, 2011
Break out those Number 25 Jerseys!
I can remember the date. December 6, 2002. The first signing of Jim Thome. The date where the Phillies stopped being pretenders and started to make the move to contender. Thome had a HR every 13 at bats during his time with the Phillies. Now I don't expect him to do that at 41, but he his a great stop gap until Howard comes back in late May or early June. He is also a MAJOR upgrade as a lefty off the bench from that slug Ross G-LOAD.
The part of the signing that I think is not being talked about much, but I think Thome will step into the clubhouse leadership role. We really have no idea if Rollins is coming back. I suppose he was the de facto leader. The Phillies need a leader. They haven't had a true leader/captain since Dutch Daulton.
So that is the good..what do I see as the bad? Thome is a below average first basemen and will be counted on for two months to man the first sack for 2-4 times a week. I see him in a platoon situation with John Mayberry at first alternating depending on who the opposing the pitcher is. Defense is a huge part of the Phillies game and Thome will be a liability.
The other part of the bad is...the Phillies are already getting older. Bringing in a 41 year old player doesn't exactly get the Phils any younger. Then I think back to another 40 year old left handed bat off the bench, that with one swing, paid dividends and sent the Phillies on to the Series in 2008. In 2011 we threw slop up there as a lefty pinch hitter. I still think Thome strikes fear in opposing pitchers.
So as I look into the crystal ball, what do I expect? Thome will hit around .250 with 15 HRs and roughly 50 RBIs. He will bring leadership..and hopefully get the message of patience across to the Phillies batters. Hopefully around this time next year, we will be thinking back to November 4, 2011, and relishing how clutch of a signing Thome. I'd like to be relishing it with a backpack full of adult beverages on Broad Street during the parade.