|The Orioles ponied up two prospects to the Phillies to acquire 41-year-old in Jim Thome, who no longer can play first base regularly but still can mash. Philadelphia acquired high Class A righthander Kyle Simon and low Class A catcher Gabriel Lino in exchange for Thome’s services during the second half of the season.
The two clubs made for perfect trading partners. Baltimore, this season’s most surprising of contenders, sought a hitter to take most of the at-bats at DH and prop up a below-average offense. Philadelphia, meanwhile, had an accomplished hitter but no place to play him once the interleague schedule has run its course and the DH was no longer available to them. Thome, who with 609 homers will take sole possession of seventh place on the all-time list the next time he goes deep, has continued to hit for extreme power into his 40s. He’s batted .255/.372/.516 in the past five seasons, belting 102 homers during his age-37 through 41 seasons. Just 11 players in history have clubbed more at age-37 and later—and four of those are Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. With 10 bombs for the Orioles in the second half, Thome would move into eighth place on that list.
|Kyle Simon, rhp
Age: 21. Born: Aug 18, 1990 in Long Beach.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 225.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in fourth round of 2011 draft; signed June 28, 2011.
A 6-foot-5 sinkerball pitcher who ranges from 88-92 mph, Simon has kept the ball on the ground and hasn’t hurt himself with walks during his first full season in the Carolina League. Of course, he hasn’t missed many bats either, and his strikeout rate (6.1 per nine innings) and WHIP (1.47) do not indicate dominance of high Class A competition. Simon turned in his finest start of the season last time out (two hits, no runs, seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings) and shows feel for a changeup, slider and cutter, so he has back-of-the-rotation or middle-relief potential.
|Gabriel Lino, c
Age: 19. Born: May 17, 1993 in Maracay, Venezuela.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Orioles, Dec. 14, 2009.
A classic arm-strength-and-power catching prospect, Lino hasn’t shown much with the bat in low Class A thus far, but he works well with pitchers and has shown enough feel for the strike zone at a young age to expect offensive growth. He has gunned down 27 percent of basestealers in South Atlantic League play, ranking ninth out of 10 qualified catchers, while also committing the most errors (12) and passed balls (14) among league catchers.
|Jim Thome, 1b
Age: 41 Bats: L. Remaining Commitment: Under contract for $1.25 million in 2012
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.