"I look at Thome as a replacment for Nick Johnson as I think the Buck has not played him (Johnson) consistantly because of the scar tissue issue and now that the issue has seen the light of day this would be an improvement."
Agreed - Thome is the new NJohnson but upgraded.
Does this mean theres a platoon at 1B with Betemit and Reynolds, and a platoon at 3B with Flaherty and Andino now? And another platoon at LF with Avery and Pearce? And where does Davis play when Nick Markakis returns?
Thome is an intriguing acquisition - the team is immediately improved a little. I like it. Looking forward to what other trades may bring us in the near future.
Why in the world would we be looking at a platoon of Reynolds/Betemit at 1B when we have a perfectly competent glove (and bat) there already in Chris Davis? His career numbers show he's a good defensive 1B. One bad game this year and now he's not an option there?... but instead we consider 2 guys that are perpetually poor with the glove?
For years we've been looking for a "prototypical", big, left handed power hitting 1B. Now we may finally have him for the first time since Palmeiro left, and we're intent to use anyone but him there.
The only way this makes any rational sense whatsoever is if we're looking to deal Reynolds too, and this Thome acquisition was merely the first stage in a multi-pronged attack. And the time Mark is stealing from Davis at 1B is a (failed) attempt at increasing his value.
The only other explanation = Buck is clueless and/or has something personal against Davis. And I don't want to believe that.
It shouldn't be. His career strikeout rate is just 5% lower. Where he's at seems reasonable given his role with the Phillies. 11 of his 21 SO this season have come in 17 PA as a PHer. The other 10 SO came in 54 PA as a 1B/DH. The SO rate is telling you something that isn't necessarily the case here. Being used as a PHer should typically result in a SO far more often than when starting the games, so his SO rate is higher than it should be if he's used in a fulltime role.
He hit .333/.412/.722 as a DH for the Phillies, accounting for 41 of his 71 PA this season.
I honestly don't know why we are looking at a 1B platoon of Betemit and Reynolds...but thats who they've been playing at 1B recently. I'm in total agreement that Davis should be playing every day at 1B, vs both lefties and righties. Its a stability thing. Its absurd not to play him at 1B imo.
But we are living in absurd times - the O's are winning, sort of, and I highly suspect u r right that the Thome trade was the mere beginning of an overhaul that rids the team of Reynolds and/or Betemit. It could be that Betemit, who was signed to be the DH, especially vs righties, has lost that job to NJohnson, and now Thome...and is on his way out in a trade. That would sure explain the effort Buck has made to make him look versatile by giving him multi-positions to field in the last few weeks.
Problem is, Betemit belongs in the field like Reynolds belongs in the field - never. But I do hope Betemit's and Reynolds' trade values went up slightly as a result of putting Davis in the outfield.
I hope we get a true Thirdbaseman soon. I also hope Andino goes back to 2B cuz BRob just aint cuttin it unfortunately. And Davis can finally go back to 1B where he belongs.
Looking forward to what the next couple of trades will bring.
This trade isn't bad. It helps the Orioles for the remainder of 2012 without costing the Orioles anything important in the future. First, let's look at what the Orioles gave up: Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino.
Kyle Simon has the upside of a back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. That's essentially what Brian Matusz has given us career-to-date. It's valuable in that someone has to take the innings, but a wholly expendable player. He strikes out 6.1 batters per 9 in high-A ball against equally aged competition, while having a WHIP of 1.47. About the best thing he has going for him is that he is a sinker baller in the mold of Matt Albers.
Gabriel Lino is a very raw, young catcher in Low-A ball. He is from the international scene and has some raw tools, such as arm strength and power, but has no idea how to tell if a pitch is in the strike zone. He has struck out 30% of the time he has come to the plate, with a .224/.288/.348 batting line. Admittedly, he has gunned down would-be base stealers at a 27% clip, but also leads the league in errors (12) and passed balls (14) in 55 games.
Both players ranked outside of the Orioles' top 20 preseason prospect lists on a team that ranked very poorly in prospect rankings overall. The Phillies look to be going into sell-mode, now that they're 11.0 games out of the NL East. Since non-contending teams in the NL don't need a DH (especially now that interleague play is over), the Phillies are happy to get anything in return for a player who won't be returning next year.
Now let's look at what the Orioles got and who loses playing time. To-date, the Orioles have gotten a .251/.343/.426 batting line out of DH's, which is slightly above average for DH's this season. Most of those plate appearances went to Nick Johnson, who is now on the DL. Other players who have seen significant time there are Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds. Chris Davis's playing time is fine in right field and Mark Reynolds has first base covered. When Markakis returns, I imagine that Davis will slide to left, with Steve Pearce (.250/.313/.429; projected .241/.317/.384 rest of season) moving to the bench. Jim Thome will fill in as the primary DH has a batting line of .227/.320/.485 so far this season and a projected .243/.338/.504 for the rest of the season.
Basically, the Orioles get to move a guy who should be on the bench back to the bench, they improve their offense, and they didn't send anything of value to do it. This is a good deal for both parties. Due to the additional wild card, every team above .500 in September is in the playoff hunt. The earlier a team in contention finds an improvement, the better off it is for the rest of the season. These are exactly the sorts of moves that the Orioles should make to stay in contention without costing us future seasons.
Great analysis. This makes me feel a little better about the move. I hope Thome hits some homeruns for us this season.
My main fear, was that DD would start trading away integral parts of our future. I have enjoyed winning this year, but I don't want this to be it for the next 10 years.
Again, this is great info, thanks for posting.
I disagree. Not that Simon and Lino were world beaters, but we still have to ask ourselves whether we really need another player that can hit marginally well, but play no defense? I don't think he's an upgrade over Betemit or Reynolds at DH. We should have gotten a good defensive 3rd baseman, not another DH; it's a complete logjam.
If we want to compete and be over .500 in September, we have to find at least 2 more consistent starting pitchers (hopefully one of the guys from Norfolk will help, but I think more likely they will need to go outside the organization). This move isn't exactly what we needed to remain in contention.
I posted the projected rest of season line before for Thome, but here it is again: .243/.338/.504. The projected rest of season line for Reynolds is .217/.323/.441. For Betemit it's .259/.321/.434. League average DH has hit .257/.332/.436. That means that Thome should be 10% better than Reynolds, 11% better than Betemit, and should hit about 9% better than the league average DH for the rest of the season, which is not insignificant.
To date, Betemit has been rated at average to a touch below average at 3B on the season by various advanced metrics. He makes errors, but his range has been better than most others. For his career he has been a bad third baseman, but if he continues hitting, a lot of those problems can be mitigated by a defensive replacement. There aren't many third basemen who can both hit and field well right now and even fewer who are available. The only one I can see who might be available is Chase Headley.
The Orioles are below average on pitching, hitting, and fielding right now. We didn't improve the fielding with this move, but we did improve the hitting. This wasn't a blockbuster move, but it was one with tangible, positive benefits.
This move makes no sense at first but after thought explains a couple of things. Seems that N. Johnson was not being used because he was barely held together with duct tape and chicken wire. We really need that "pure bat" roster spot in this offensive crisis so goodbye N. Johnson and hello Thome.
We gave up two players that 90% of the ORIOLES MESSAGE BOARD had no idea existed.
I think this is the approach most O's fans should be hoping we take. The O's will be minor buyers, giving up nothing but depth prospects and making the deals ASAP because every game counts in our run for a wild card spot.
But if we are giving up anything at all for Thome, it means a deal for pitching is coming soon. I don' think the price tag for Wandy is that high. The Strohs would be happy with Matusz and Tillman I think.
Just out of curiousity, where did you find these projections? I would be curious as how they came to such exact numbers. Yes, he's an improvement over Nick Johnson, but I really don't see how he's any better as a DH than Betemit on anything than those projected numbers. If we go with current stats:
Betemit: .274/.336/.450 (Betemit hasn't batted lower than .270 since before 2010, so idk why the projections have him falling off so rapidly; he's 31 so I don't really see that drop-off for another 2 years or so).
Thome: .227/.320/.485 (Granted in limited at bats, but still hard to make the argument that he won't finish below .250 at his age. He really hasn't had regular time at 1st or DHing since 2009).
Reynolds: .209/.333/.379 (He's really falling off and I don't see how we could move him considering his value has to be at an all time low. But I probably wouldn't him as a full-time DH, I'd keep him on the bench and occasionally spot start him at DH or 3rd with Betemit and Andino).
I'd prefer if we had Andino/Flaherty at 3rd, Davis at 1st and Betemit DHing. Thome really has no place on this team, he's just a slightly better hitting version of Nick Johnson who can't even play 1st; honestly I'd rather see Avery or Ford on the roster until Kakis gets back and for the team to stop throwing Davis everywhere and give him a regular spot at first.
My point is that I really don't think we did improve on the hitting significantly. We just got another guy who is not really much of an improvement. I really dislike projections as I don't really think there is a right way to extrapolate them. If you're going to make a deal, you should try and make it count, not acquire more of the same types of players.
They're ZiPS projections by Dan Szymborski of Baseball Think Factory. Szymborski also contributes to FanGraphs and every player page has ZiPS (R) and ZiPS (U) stats (R meaning rest of season, U being an updated final season line including season-to-date and rest-of-season).
Projection systems make heavy use of regression. In Betemit's case, he has a very high BABIP over the last couple of seasons, which isn't normally sustainable with his strikeout rate. I would argue that having Betemit at 3B, even with below average defense would be better for the team trying to win now than Andino and Flaherty at 3B with their total inability to hit this season. Andino has been bad at hitting (25% strikeout rate with no power) and Flaherty has been completely lost at the plate.
Using only in-season numbers is a poor way to look at the numbers because of how long it takes for them to become predictive. That is why so many projection systems (ZiPS included) uses several years of data and regression. I would much rather have a logjam until Markakis comes back and try to move Reynolds later, while getting Thome on the team than the alternative. Their combined offense far outweighs their defense.
You only have options to acquire players who are available. Not many teams are selling right now and Thome will add about a win to the Orioles before the season is up, more if he avoids injury. And the Orioles need to make incremental improvements without giving up anything important. Would I have loved Chase Headley instead of Jim Thome? Of course. Could we have gotten Chase Headley without giving up a somewhat significant piece? Probably not.