Posted 08/23/2011 at 04:24 PM
Jim Thome recently hit his 600th home run and while the Twins held on to Thome at the trade deadline despite interest from other teams for that reason, they appear motivated to move him now. Thome was placed on waivers on Monday and presumably there will be a claim on him. Thome has a full no-trade clause and while the veteran seemingly has enjoyed his run in Minnesota he is still without a World Series title and the allure of a postseason opportunity would likely be too great to pass up. Many of Thomeís former teams would make sense as likely destinations. The AL teams will have priority in the process and it is unlikely that Thome will escape the division.
Chicago White Sox: Chicago is only 5.5 games out of the division lead and they will have head-to-head opportunities with the two teams ahead of them in the coming weeks. Thome was a popular player for the White Sox and his return would be welcomed by fans. It is not necessarily a great fit however as Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn both fill up the DH and 1B spots on most nights. Dunn has had an atrocious season but he does draw walks and is an equal power threat to Thome. The rationale for the White Sox to grab Thome might be to prevent Cleveland from getting a shot at Thome as the Indians do lead Chicago in the standings for the moment and would have more of a need for Thomeís role. In reality however there likely isnít room on the roster for Chicago if they are serious about making a run in the next month.
Cleveland Indians: Cleveland makes a great deal of sense and could provide a bookend to the career for Thome who started with the Indians in the early 1990s, putting together over a decade of time in Cleveland. The injury to Travis Hafner that appears to be season-ending also opens the door for the role that Thome could provide. Cleveland suffered a depressing series in Detroit over the weekend and the gap is starting to look insurmountable but Cleveland does get to play Detroit yet this season and the Indians do not appear ready to quit just yet. The aggressive trade deadline moves leaves less to work with in terms of prospects to part with although it will not take a high asking price. The biggest hurdle may be Chicago making the claim first.
Toronto Blue Jays: This may seem like an odd move but the Jays are famous for making late season waiver claims with the hopes of garnering a draft pick in the next season. Thome could retire, but if he plays next year he could be worth a compensatory pick to the team that holds his rights at the end of the season so he would have some value just in that regard. Thome has no connection to Toronto and the Jays are not in a playoff race so it could be a move he vetoes but Toronto could be a team that tries to get into the picture.
Philadelphia Phillies: Thome likely would have limited value to an NL team as he would be relegated to a pinch hitting role although with the Phillies there may be thoughts of using him as a DH in potential World Series games. That would be getting a bit ahead of things however and Philadelphia has several players available to fill an offensive role on the team. Thomeís stint with the Dodgers a few years ago in a similar situation did not produce good results as he had just 17 at-bats the rest of the season and three in the playoffs. Changing leagues and adjusting to unfamiliar pitchers is probably too much to ask for Thome at this point in his career so staying within the division would make the most sense.