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Phillies Rumors: Philadelphia Making Jim Thome Available

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The Philadelphia Phillies are making veteran slugger Jim Thome available to American League teams in need of a designated hitter, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.

The Philadelphia Phillies are quietly making Jim Thome available to American League teams looking for a designated hitter, executives of two AL clubs said Thursday.

Stark spoke with Phillies general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., who wouldn’t confirm the report. However, Amaro also wouldn’t rule out a Thome trade.

"The ideal situation right now, because he can't really play defense in the National League, would be for Jim to play in the American League," Amaro said. "He still has the ability to win a game for us and be productive off the bench. The problem is, the further away he gets from regular at-bats, the more difficult it becomes for him to do that. So we'll see what happens. We'll keep in contact with some clubs and see if there's the right fit out there for Jim and for the Phillies."

Thome was signed by the Phillies this off-season as a bat off the bench and a small insurance policy for the club at first base with Ryan Howard’s injury. Philadelphia hoped to use Thome sparingly at first, but even this limited amount of playing time forced the 41-year-old to the disabled list.

Still, Thome has shined in his limited opportunities, especially when the Phillies were able to use him as a DH during interleague play. On the season, Thome has hit at a clip of .242/.338/.516 with seven extra-base hits and 15 RBIs over his 62 at-bats.

Thome’s friends say the veteran would like to rejoin one of his former clubs, the Chicago White Sox or Cleveland Indians, as both teams are currently in contention. ESPN’s Buster Olney chimed in this morning on the situation, noting that, at least on paper, the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles appear to be fits for Thome.