Amaro Talks Thome Trade
The Phillies have traded first baseman/designated hitter Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for catcher Gabriel Lino and right-hander Kyle Simon, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.
Here are Amaro’s words from a conference call with the five Phillies beat writers in Miami:
Q: How quick did this come together?
A; We talked to some clubs over the last couple of weeks about Jim. We were trying to do two things, really. We were trying to be attentive to Jim’s situation and at the same time, trying to take care of the Phillies. First and foremost, that’s my job, to put us in the position to do the right thing for the organization. At the same time, the player that we’re talking about and the great deal of respect we have for Jim, I wanted to try to put him in a position where he can flourish.
Q: Some might think this was the first of moves to come?
A: To be frank, when it was very evident he wasn’t able to play first base for us, it was difficult to carry this type of a player on our club. We tried to do it with Ross Gload last year. He played limited first base. It ties our hands. That said, Jim was going to be and has been a guy, that was a threat for us. We were hopeful we would have him play enough on our club to stay sharp. It didn’t work out. Health-wise, he wasn’t able to play that position. In the National League, it’s very, very difficult to carry player who is unable to play the position.
Q: Do you trade Thome if you’re 10 games over .500 or a game or two out of first place?
A: It really depends. Time and circumstance dictates some of the moves you make. I’m not sure. I probably would. But again, we’re not in that position right now.
Q: Does this send a message to the players in the clubhouse?
A: This wasn’t a trade that had anything to do with a message. This is a trade that is beneficial for us later on and hopefully beneficial for Jim. If people think this is the start of us selling players off, that’s incorrect. We are in a tough spot because we have not played well and are behind. But we’re not throwing in any towels.
Q: That said, you have to pick it up soon, right?
A: It does. We also have to see what kind of impact and where we stand once both Doc and Ryan get back. They have a chance to get back in the not-so-distant future. They would be pretty big factors as far as our club is considered.
Q: What can you tell us about the players you got?
A: Lino, a kid from Venezuela, we had our scouts, Jessie Levis in particular, see him. Very young kid. Excellent catch and throw guy. He has some aptitude offensively. He can swing the bat a little bit. He actually beat up on us at Lakewood. He’s a kid Jesse sees as a high-ceiling catcher. Very, very young. He has a chance to be pretty good. He’ll probably be sent to Lakewood. We’ll move forward from there. Kyle Simon, we had Howie Freiling see him just recently. Howie liked what he saw. Pretty good sinker, pretty good stuff. Kid from University of Arizona. Last year, fourth rounder. It’s rare you get a guy that was just drafted but we like the arm. Right now he’s a starter and might project into a bullpen piece later on. But we like the arm and we’ll put him in Clearwater and see how he goes.