One of my favorite movies is Mike Judge’s Office Space. In the film, Stephen Root plays the oft overlooked collator Milton, whose boss is constantly forcing him to change desks despite his protests.
The Michael Young situation makes me think of Milton.
For the last couple of days, I’ve been hearing plenty of rumblings about Jim Thome. Nothing is official, but the rumors started much in the same way that the Webb and Beltre rumors did, so they can’t be entirely dismissed.
Part of me would like Thome to come to Texas because at present he is only 11 HRs away from 600. It would be neat if he were in a Texas uniform for that special moment.
But there’s another part of me (the practical part) that really doesn’t see where he is supposed to play.
By all accounts, Thome is still a great hitter and might have been a better addition than Guerrero in 2010.
But those same accounts also indicate that he can’t play the field anymore. Not even 1B.
What you have is MY as a right-handed DH/SU. Moreland as a left-handed 1B/OF. Thome as a left-handed DH. There’s also Blanco as a utility guy and Murphy as a 4th OF.
If you had all 5 of those guys, your lineup selection would go something like this:
On a day that there is a right-handed pitcher, Thome can be your DH. If you still want MY to play, you put him at 1B or give Andrus or Kinsler or Beltre the day off and play him at their position. If MY is at 1B and you still want Moreland to play, put him in right and give Cruz the day off or Borbon the day off and move Hamilton to CF or Hamilton the day off and move Cruz to LF. To get Blanco some time on the field, you need to give Andrus or Kinsler or Beltre the day off without giving that position to MY. To get Murphy in the game, you have to give one of the other OFs the day off and adjust positions accordingly or make Murphy the DH and put MY in the field or give him the day off and also give Thome the day off. On and on it goes.
In this scenario you have 5 players that will see time on the bench. Three of them are full-time and two are part-time and there just aren’t enough positions for them. You’ve created a logjam, as there are only so many at-bats to go around.
MY likes to play everyday and being primarily a DH will only strengthen that resolve to be on the field as much as he can. Either you ask the face of the franchise to play 20-30 less games than he’d like or you pay Thome $8MM to be a pinch-hitter. Neither of those is an appealing solution.
If you absolutely must have Thome, then your only option may be to trade someone (Murphy, Young, or Moreland) or send Moreland to Round Rock & turn Young into your everyday 1B. I don’t think that’s preferable either.
The bottom line is that Thome might have made sense as a replacement for Vlad, but after Beltre was signed there really was no need there. He would probably be better suited for an NL team that needs to make the double switch or another AL team that needs a full-time DH.
We’ll see what happens, I guess. Hopefully MY isn’t moved to the basement and then pushed into burning the stadium down.