How Much Thome at 1B?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, March 19, 2012 08:47 AM | Comments: 4
News, Posts

When will Thome play first? (Mcall.com)

After Jim Thome was scratched twice last week due to soreness from playing the field, I wondered if it made sense for him to play any first base at all this season. At 41, Thome’s days of playing everyday are well behind him. However, the organization has said they plan on trying him out there during Spring Training and in a perfect world, he would play there once a week, or so. But is that even the right move?

Should your best bench bat, and perhaps the only guy capable of changing a game with one swing, be subject to playing too much? I know that sounds ridiculous, but if they push Thome too far, the Phillies run the risk of losing a valuable player. His limitations are apparent; his back isn’t as sound as someone, say, 10 years younger, and his defense will be suspect. Thome’s bat is still potent, but if he plays too much during the regular season, does he run the risk of losing value because he can’t handle the rigors?

Of course, all of this is premature concern. Thome says he would like to get back out there soon after taking part in a minor league game on Saturday. He’ll need to get out there at least a few more times in March to see where he is physically.

It’s impossible to tell how much the Phillies will lose defensively when Thome is out there. It’s rather obvious that he’s not nearly on the same level as John Mayberry Jr. or Ty Wigginton. It seems inevitable that he will be some sort of liability in the infield.

If you’re a big believer that a bench guy needs starting reps on occasion, then I agree with you, to a point. But Thome doesn’t need to play three days a week to keep his bat in order. He’s a veteran wily enough to understand his body and the situation in front of him. Hopefully the Phillies realize that they’ll need to take it easy on him throughout the year to maximize his value.

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1691 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 Brett

    ….always good to read an article that does nothing but state the obvious.

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    I’m not particularly worried about Thome breaking down… as much as I am the Phils running Thome into the ground. Nix and JMJ have been pretty underwhelming this Spring and Wigginton doesn’t instill much confidence in me either. I hope Charlie doesn’t use Big Jim as a crutch and play him way more than his body is capable of.

  • Posts: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    In the minor league games we saw in Clearwater last week, Thome was playing first in both. I think he and the Phils are making a concerted effort to have him relearn how to play 1B….that and to give the young guys hitting advice.

  • Posts: 0 George

    I haven’t read anywhere that Thome will be playing three days per week. The question should be “can he play one day per week?” which he probably can without too much risk. Also, he’ll need those at-bats in order to stay sharp. I’d take Thome sore before I’d take him with an out of practice batting eye.

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