Orioles acquire Thome for Minor Leaguers Lino, Simon
The Orioles have acquired Jim Thome from the Phillies in exchange for Class A players Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon, the team announced Saturday.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said he intends for Thome to be available to the Orioles on Sunday.
Thome is hitting .242/.338/.516 this season with five home runs and 15 RBIs, and it is expected that the Orioles will use him at designated hitter.
Thome owns a career batting line of .277/.402/.556 and has hit 609 home runs, tied for seventh all-time.
“Jim Thome is a real pro, and he specializes in hitting home runs and getting on base, and he’s done that his whole career,” Duquette said. “Beyond that he’s a terrific teammate and a steady presence and he’s a veteran, he’s been around.”
Duquette said the move was made to add more depth to a lineup that has left-handed hitters Nick Johnson, Nick Markakis and Endy Chavez on the disabled list.
With Nolan Reimold now likely out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on his neck on Monday, Duquette also wanted to add some pop to the O’s lineup.
“We had to look at adding power to our team, and also we have a real strong lineup versus left-handed pitching and I think that this will give us a stronger lineup, particularly versus right-handed pitching,” Duquette said.
Lino, a 19-year-old catcher from Venezuela, is rated the Orioles 11th-best prospect by MLB.com and was hitting .218 with four home runs and 18 RBIs with Class A Delmarva.
Simon, a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher who was a fourth-round pick out of the University of Arizona in the 2011 Draft, is 2-8 with a 3.96 ERA with Class A Frederick. He is rated the Orioles 20th-best prospect by MLB.com.
“We like both of the young players,” Duquette said. “We thought that Thome’s presence and our need for the Major League team were worth the value that we have to give up in a trade.”
The Orioles also designated left-handed pitcher Zach Phillips for assignment to make room for Thome on the 40-man roster.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he started receiving calls from American League teams about Thome’s availability after the 41-year-old slugger hit four home runs and 14 RBIs in nine Interleague games as the team’s designated hitter.
Thome played first base for four games in April before a back injury sent him to the disabled list, raising doubts about whether he will ever be healthy enough to play first base again.
“Well, he’s been hitting, and that’s his primary asset,” Duquette said when asked about the injury. “He should be able to hit.”
With first baseman Ryan Howard on the mend and no designated hitter spot in the National League, speculation on Thome joining an American League club had been rampant.
Thome did not play during the Phillies’ 3-2 loss to the Marlins on Saturday.
The Orioles have used eight different players at designated hitter this season, with Chris Davis and Johnson leading the way with 19 starts each.
Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a right wrist injury, while Davis has been playing in right field in place of injured starter Markakis, who has been on the disabled list since having a piece of his broken right hamate bone removed on June 1.