July 23, 2014

Indians no longer pursuing Jim Thome, will not commit roster spot to DH

The Cleveland Indians have reportedly slammed the door on any potential reunion between the club and its all-time home run leader Jim Thome. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the team will not be committing a roster spot to a designated hitter.

As WFNY’s Jon wrote earlier this offseason, Thome, 42, appears closer to the end of his career. Last season his ISO (slugging minus batting average—a measure of raw power) dropped below .200 for the first time in his career.  He hurt his back while playing first base, and managed only 186 plate appearances on the season because of it.

In turn, the Tribe will likely use a DH-by-committee approach, which utilizes the versatility of players like Mike Aviles and Mark Reynolds while using Lou Marson as a back-up catcher, giving multiple players — Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall — days off in the field while keeping their bats in the lineup. This move, while capping the potential overall slugging percentage of the lineup, avoiding Thome does allow the team to remain flexible and persue other options in the event the committee approach does bear fruit.

Upon Thome’s retirement, if the player does decide to call it a career, the Indians have plans on erecting a statue in his honor. It will stand on the spot where the slugger’s legendary 511-foot home run landed in July of 1999.

[Related: Jim Thome: Slugger Gets Closure in Cleveland]

 

 

  • mgbode

    so what’s the O/U line on Tribe DH’s this year?

    my guess:
    .250/.300/.385 12-HR 15-2B 1-3B 5-SB

    (and honestly, that line is just pulled up from guys like Santana and Asdrubal getting some days there)

  • JeBron_Lames

    For a position that is projected to bat eighth or ninth in this lineup, I would be okay with that line.

  • mgbode

    Designated Hitter – player on a professional baseball team in the American League who is paid for his ability to hit the baseball.

    9th batter in a lineup – place reserved for a teams weakest starting hitter so that they can ensure the fewest plate appearances.

  • mgbode

    also, I did not make those numbers for my O/U line out of thin air. they are a rough average of Matt LaPorta’s MLB numbers (with some extra SBs)

  • ACAB

    Definitely over. I think most of the DH at bats will come from our starters, like you mentioned, as the bench guys will slide in on defense. We should get decent production from the DH even though each position’s offensive numbers should take a slight dip each from this approach.

  • Steve

    Exactly.

    The DH line will look fine because we will needlessly be taking away the positional advantage of Cabrera and Santana

  • Kildawg

    I take the over. You might have Aviles underrated offensively (he offers opportunity to keep Cabrera, Kipnis, and Chisenhall fresh throughout the season). Plus, if McGuiness makes the team, he would be able to slot into the DH role and give Reynolds and Swisher small breathers. With three bench/DH spots up for grabs, the Tribe should have a guy that can play catcher in a pinch when they DH Santana. Marson figuring as backup C and getting bulk of time vs LHP. 4th OF will be an interesting battle IMO.

  • mgbode

    those numbers would represent soon to be 32yo Aviles career norms (though he would have some more doubles). I hope that you are correct that I have it too low though.

  • Kildawg

    As I mentioned before, Aviles is not the sole factor affecting use of the DH role. Without a ‘full-time’ DH, the team can be more flexible and allow the starters to get more rest throughout the season. Also, Swisher will have a week off sometime in May (making the 4th OF more important).

  • @TheDeePagel

    Have a hunch that we will begin the season with a DH by committee approach, but by July, we will have a full-time DH. It could be McGuiness, could be Gomes, could even be Aguilar….or someone else not even mentioned here.

  • http://twitter.com/GreatestHurley Jason Hurley

    Needless: because giving guys days off from the field is stupid, you stupid-heads.

  • Natedawg86

    DH should not have a lot of SB…Ugh.. I guess we will have to wait and see how it works with Aviles being key. We have a lot riding on his ability to produce.

  • mgbode

    that is best case scenario. i hope it happens. one of the youngsters steps up and demands the ABs.

  • thepaledragon

    But we are unusual in that we get above average offensive production from positions like SS, C, and CF. It all balances out.

  • steve-o

    We should be set for interleague play since we’re constructed like an NL team. Maybe they’re thinking about a possible trade for a DH near the deadline if we’re in the playoff chase (and some of our extra bats will undoubtably be on the injury list). Maybe we can pick up a decent DH from a struggling team looking to dump salary, and we’ll have a good bat (better than what’s available now) at a reduced price.

  • mgbode

    Stubbs will not give above average offensive CF production unless he improves from what he has done (still possible).

    Yes, Santana and Asdrubal give more (and Kipnis at 2B too), but 1B, 3B, and LF have all given less than those positions merit.

    My main point in all of this is that having a pure-batter is a cheap position to fill. If one of the kids doesn’t step-up, then it will be a void for no real reason. that’s all.

  • Bob

    If the Cav’s sign Oden, he will be another contract without a player. Remember Grady Sizemore and the Indians? A waste of money! These guys are through, period!