Breaking Down The DH Market

8 01 2011

Posted by Brady

This season there are 3 super premium options for the designated hitter role. Two of which will definitely have a job somewhere if they want it, and one….might not. Naturally, I am talking about Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, and Manny Ramirez.  These are three aging future Hall of Fame hitters with limited defensive skills, who can still hit the ball a mile. All three of them have their advantages and their disadvantages. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Jim Thome

Anyone who has read my work on Pine Tar and Pocket Protectors in the past knows that I have always been, and will always be a huge Jim Thome fan. He’s Jim Thome. Who doesn’t love him? In any season where he’s played in 100 games his career LOW in home runs is

His ISO was a ridiculous .282, and at age 39 he just had what you could call a career year.

23.  You know exactly what you’re getting from him every year. Just pencil him in for 25 bombs and let it go. But he does more than just launch baseballs. 1679 walks. That is good for ninth all time and first among active players. He owns a .278/.404/.559 hitting line, and an OPS+ of 147.  His ISO is a ridiculous .282, and at age 39 he just had what you could call a career year.

As far as any issues with Thome, it’s pretty clear. The only man who has been rung up more than Thome is Reggie Jackson. He can’t be nor does he want to be a full time player, and he’s a career .238 against left handed pitchers. He can’t even play an emergency 1B. He hasn’t touched a glove since 2007, and that was only for one game.

Manny Ramirez

His plus side is so ridiculously similar to his former Indian teammate that it’s barely worth talking about. 555 home runs, .998 career OPS, and a 155 OPS+. Everything that Thome can do, Manny Ramirez can do, just a little better. .312/.411/.586 career hitter. The only thing that Manny Ramirez can’t do with a bat better than Jim Thome is pure extra base power. Ramirez only has a .274 ISO. But

The only problem with Manny Ramirez is that he is Manny Ramirez.

over their careers, Manny and Thome have been virtually just as valuable. Thome brings a career 73.5 WAR to to Ramirez’s 72.2

The only problem with Manny Ramirez is that he is Manny Ramirez. Do I really need to recap this? How many problems did he have in Boston? How many problems did he have in Los Angeles? How many problems did he have in Cleveland? I can’t think of many in Cleveland….but that was 10 years ago. Cleveland is his ideal destination. It seems like he wants to finish where he started. Any team looking to sign him better be careful, as he hasn’t had 500 PAs since 2008. He is still a game changer. But only when he wants to be.

Vladimir Guerrrero

How can anybody not what Vladimir Guerrero on their team? Over the course of 162 games he averages 35 home runs.  And while Thome and Ramirez average 40 and 39 respectively, he has one thing that they don’t. An uncanny ability to not strike out. How does

How can anybody not want Vladimir Guerrero on their team?

he do it? He has an uncanny ability to make contact, and good contact, on any pitch in any count, in any situation against any pitcher. The man doesn’t strikeout, but the man doesn’t walk. He his, however a career .320/.383/.563 career hitter. Only Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmy Foxx have a .320 average and 400 or more home runs.  His ISO is lower than Thome and Ramirez, at .243 but his OPS+ is right in line at 143.  Throughout his 15 year career Guerrero has contributed 61.7 WAR to the Expos, the Angels, and the Rangers.

I’ll be honest, I tried to think of any cons to a team trying to sign Guerrero, other than being old, there isn’t a lot. He doesn’t have a significant injury history. He’s reached 600 PAs every year but one since becoming a full time player. And he is a suitable back up outfielder. Teams start a lot worse (Delmon Young) than Guerrero. In my personal opinion, he is the best option at DH this year.

Was Jim Thome The Best Off-Season Signing?

16 09 2010

Posted by Brady

In the Twin Cities, Jim Thome has been awarded nicknames. Jimmers. Jim Jam. Tater Masher Extraordinaire. Twins fans have made a Twitter account for him. You can find it @FakeJimThome. He gets teased there, and on most Twins blogs, but, Twins fans have learned to love this man. It’s always nice to see a Twins Killer become a Minnesota Twin.

The White Sox paid $13 MM for his services last year. Last season, just after the trade deadline, the Chicago White Sox sent Thome to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thome hit 23 home runs for the South Siders, and was a fan favorite. With Los Angeles, Thome had 4 hits in 17 at bats. All singles. No walks. He owned a very tidy line of .235/.235/.235.

After the season, Thome made it well known that his desire was to return to

Jim Thome wanted to hit in the same lineup with MVPs Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

Chicago. White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t want him. They didn’t appreciate his inability to do anything other than hit. They decided to go with Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay, both of whom can field, somewhat. So what did Jim Thome do?.

The rival Twins wanted to sign Jim Thome. And Jim Thome wanted to hit in the same lineup with MVPs Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. The only thing that stood in the way was the cash.

The Twins got Thome to sign for $1.5 MM. For Twins fans, it seemed too good to be true. Thome coming off the bench. A bench that last year included Brian Buscher, Mike Redmond, and Brendan Harris. Even if he rarely played, having a future Hall of Famer coming off the bench is the move of a big budget, East Coast team, rather than a small, one and done in the playoffs team.

He was to be used when regular designated hitter Jason Kubel played in the outfield, to either rest Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, or when Cuddyer would play first base to rest perennial All-Star, Justin Morneau. The Twins are not stupid. They know the numbers. They know that Jim Thome hits home runs against them, and they know Jim Thome has to play in the American League due to his allergy to leather.

But Thome’s effect has been more than just on field excellence. He’s worked with Morneau, and helped him alter his swing. How did Morneau respond? By hitting .345 with 18 home runs, and he was well on his way to his second MVP award, before he went down with a concussion in Toronto on July 7th.

According to some, when Theodore Roosevelt said “Speak softly, and carry a big stick", he was talking about Jim Thome.”

But, the big question, as always, was it worth it? The answer to that is a resounding “yes”. So far, in 314 plate apperances, Thome has hit a team leading 23 home runs, and hit .277/.406./631! He’s posted an ISO of .353. The highest mark from a Minnesota Twin since Hall of Famer Harmon Killibrew posted an ISO of .318 in Minnesota’s inaugural season.

Anyway you look at it, home runs, ISO, WAR, and whatever statistic you can think of, Jim Thome has earned his paycheck. At $1.5MM, Thome has earned $65,217.38 per home run. He’s been worth 3.3 WAR so far, earning $454,545.45 per WAR.

Thome has done everything this team as asked him to do. And more. He’s given this team a real veteran leader and teacher. He’s destroyed White Sox pitching. He hit a walk-off home run against Matt Thornton. Hawk Harrelson threw his microphone and left the broadcast booth as soon as Thome hit it. He’s inspired t-shirt slogans (“Thome Is My Homey”). Twins fans have become American history revisionists. According to some, when Theodore Roosevelt said “Speak softly, and carry a big stick”, he was talking about Jim Thome.”

Jim Thome has truly been worth every penny. In terms of money, Thome has

He’s been a player, and a coach. It’s been a fun ride, and the Twins would do well to sign him again, if the price is right.

been the best acquisition the Twins have made in a long time. And I can tell you from watching every Jim Thome plate appearance in a Twins uniform, this has to be the best free agent acquisition in baseball from last offseason. He’s been a player, and a coach. It’s been a fun ride, and the Twins would do well to sign him again, if the price is right.

Picking Apart Ozzie Guillen

19 08 2010

Posted by BaconSlayer09

As the 2010 Chicago White Sox season unwinds into the dark depths of failure, Ozzie Guillen is at it again. In another one of his famous “Ozzie being Ozzie” segments, he finally admitted that he was wrong for not wanting Jim Thome. Yet, he is still extremely bitter about the questions that are coming from the fans, as well as the reporters, in regards to the topic. I know many have tried to analyze an Ozzie Guillen rant, but I’m going to put a new spin on things.

  • “For all those people there saying it was my fault about Jim Thome, yes it’s my fault. If those people don’t like that, (bleep) them.”

Alright Ozzie, if you stole somebody’s wallet and they found out, they shouldn’t be mad at you? You’d tell the victim of your crime to go (bleep) themselves? Nevermind that these people are the ones helping you pay your salary. What an ungrateful bastard.

  • “I’m not afraid. I can care less what people think. We’re in second place. When Jim Thome was here, we finished third three times out of four years. We went to one playoff because he hit a home run to go to the playoffs.”

Thome is currently holds a .412 wOBA, which leads everyone on the White Sox' current roster.

Now I feel like I’m arguing with an 8 year old. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Is it Jim Thome’s fault that the White Sox sucked in 2007 because they had no bullpen? Is it Jim Thome’s fault that the pitching staff fell apart in the second half of 2006? Is it Jim Thome’s fault that the White Sox were a mediocre team in 2009? You can’t pin the team’s previous failures on one player, especially when the said player hit 30 or more home runs for you in three straight seasons. The fact that this 2010 team has had success is not due to the offense. If anything, the White Sox have been winning despite a mediocre offense. But oh, you do bring up the fact that Thome hit a huge home run in the play-in game in 2008. So what the hell is your point Ozzie?

  • “Listen, I don’t make that decision, we made that decision. It was hard for me to do this. A lot of people in Chicago talk about Jim Thome. How about J.D.? I think Jermaine Dye did more stuff for the Chicago White Sox than Jim Thome did, with all my respect to Jimbo.

Now you’re getting off-topic Ozzie. Jermaine Dye has nothing to do with this Jim Thome discussion. The difference between Dye and Thome is that Thome is left handed. Thome still has power. And lastly, Dye was stubborn about his contract and his playing time. Plus, did you see how Dye hit in the second half last year? I’m sure you did Ozzie, because you were in the same clubhouse as him.

I’m totally sure it was so hard to decide between Jim Thome and Mark Kotsay. Think about it, one guy is a future hall of famer who came off an acceptable year as a DH. The other guy is completely past his prime and can’t hit or play the outfield anymore. But, oh it was so hard! That’s what she said. She as in Mark Kotsay’s wife.

  • “What’s going on here? I don’t get it. Why do people forget about J.D.? People don’t even talk about J.D. at all. If Thome was a better player than J.D. for the White Sox, that’s the answer. J.D.’s not playing for the Twins.

Of course you wouldn’t get it Ozzie, you probably don’t even know what slugging percentage is.  After all, I wouldn’t expect you to due to your Venezuelan education. As for Thome vs. Dye, Dye accumulated only 6.4 WAR over the course of his stay with the White Sox. Thome racked up 12.5 WAR with the Sox, not to mention he played one less season in Chicago than Dye. So I think the answer is clear Ozzie, Thome was more valuable to the White Sox, a lot more valuable.

  • “That’s it. If (Nick) Punto hit that home run, I might still be crying. Or (Denard) Span. Or (manager) Ron Gardenhire. Jim Thome’s hit almost 600 home runs, good for him.

So you dumped a guy with almost 600 home runs for Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones? My god…

  • Every time we had Jim Thome here, we couldn’t play him against the National League. Why won’t anybody give me credit for that one? We won 15 games. And Jimbo had one, two at-bats every time we played those guys. And we made this run because we played good against the National League. We got hot then.”

Ok, so you won 15 games against the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals, Marlins, and Braves. I’ll give you credit for the Atlanta sweep, the rest is a bunch of chump change. Plus, it would have been nice to have Thome as a pinch hitter. The slight versatility of Mark Kotsay isn’t an advantage when he’s hitting .230. Just so you know.

  • “But I hope he hits another (bleeping) one today. He had all three hits against lefties. Is it my fault we can’t pitch against his (rear)? No. Well … I feel proud of him, to be honest with you. When I see him hit that (ball) out there all the way to the building out there at 98 (mph), I don’t see that for the last three years with us. Good for him. A lot of people talk about the home run from Jim Thome. How about the eight or nine runs before that? But that’s OK. I’ll wear it. I’ll take it. I’ll take the heat.”

It could be your fault that you left Matt Thornton in when he had already pitched an inning and a third before that. Where was J.J. Putz? Where was Chris Sale? Overusing one guy will be your demise, as it always is. Plus, Jim Thome hit PLENTY of balls hard on good fastballs. The guy is a notorious fastball mistake hitter. Why is it so hard to appreciate what Thome did for this club?

  • “Because I know my mind, my heart and my soul, they’re very clean. I have my head on my shoulders, and I think we did the right thing with what we did in spring training. If people don’t like it, good. They don’t like it, they don’t have to watch the (bleeping) White Sox.

Tell me how the hell you have your head straight when you just told a good amount of your employer’s fans to go screw themselves? Reverse psychology maybe?

  • “Oh and I got one more year on my contract, just make sure to tell Jerry (Reinsdorf), get it ready, this crazy (bleeping) Mexican, it’s fine with me. They going to blame me about one home run, I’ll take the blame.”

Guillen's antics are getting very tiring for many White Sox fans.

You still don’t get it Ozzie, do you? That one home run is not the entire reason. Your stupid mistake, as well as Kenny Williams’ stupidity to listen to you, might have cost the White Sox the 2010 AL Central division title. I hope you sleep well and don’t give a shit about the people who pay your salary. Because if you truly think that way, nobody in their right mind would like to see you at 35th and Shields come next April.

Stuff like this is why I hate Ozzie Guillen. He’s stubborn, he’s offensive, and he comes off as an immature 8 year old who happens to be managing a baseball team. I think it is in Kenny Williams’ best interest to never ask Ozzie what he wants ever again. Because if he listens, they’ll both be looking for jobs in the baseball unemployment line. Make no mistake about it.