Just in time, the Los Angeles Dodgers picked up Jim Thome in a salary dump trade with the Chicago White Sox. In the process, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti picks up a solid hitter off the bench while giving up nothing.
Wait. Hold on a second. I am complimenting Colletti for picking up another old past-his-prime player after writing a long story about all the bad signings and trades for old past-their-prime players during his tenure? In that story, I listed the bad players Colletti has acquired. Let's review:
Even the one player whom I applauded, has mixed results.
Yes, Jim Thome is JUST like all of those guys. Colletti has a knack for picking players off the 2001 All-Star team. So why do I like this move? Unlike the other signings, Thome is not playing every day and expected to be the center piece.
The main disadvantage for the National League against the American League is the Designated Hitter. Before picking up Thome, the Dodgers DH could have been:
Designated Pinch Runner Juan Pierre.
Mark Loretta and his 56 OPS+.
Brad Ausmus, who has played 30 games this season and has a career .325 On-Base Percentage.
You might as well just let the pitcher hit. Now, with Thome coming off the bench for pinch hit situations and penciled in the lineup as the DH should they make the World Series, the Dodgers have a more lethal lineup. While Thome isn't the 197 OPS+ hitter he was in 2002, his rate stats are a solid .249/.372/.493.
Of course, Colletti will ruin everything and sign Thome to a three year deal in the off season.