Thome, the popular former Phillies first baseman, didn't play for the White Sox on Monday night because the inter-league series at Citizens Bank Park doesn't feature a designated hitter. Thome was on deck, ready to pinch hit, when the final out of the Phillies' 3-0 victory was recorded.
Still, it didn't stop him from meeting the media before the game and reminiscing about the three seasons (2003-2005) he spent with the Phillies.
"When I was here, I had a wonderful time," Thome said. "I appreciate the fans and the support they gave me here. They took me and my family in."
Thome was considered the Phillies' franchise player after he signed a six-year, $85-million contract before the 2003 season. He belted 47 home runs in 2003 and 42 in 2004 before suffering back and elbow injuries in 2005 that opened the door for Ryan Howard. Thome was traded to the White Sox on Nov. 25, 2005 for center fielder Aaron Rowand and minor-league pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Daniel Haigwood.
"We came to the conclusion we had two first basemen," manager Charlie Manuel said. "If we could've found a position for Jimmy and Ryan, we would've kept them both."
Thome hit 42 homers and had 109 RBIs for the White Sox last season, while Howard won the National League MVP award with 58 homers and 149 RBIs. This season, Thome is batting .281 with eight homers and 23 RBIs.
After the 2005 season, the Phillies were faced with a tough decision. How do you fit both Ryan Howard and Jim Thome into a National League lineup that doesn't offer a job for a designated hitter? With Howard looking like the real deal, the Phillies decided to move Thome elsewhere and the White Sox were more than willing to oblige.
Thome was coming off of a season that saw him struggle with a back injury and his value wasn't exactly at its highest. After shopping him elsewhere, the White Sox were the highest bidder, offering center fielder Aaron Rowand and minor league pitchers Daniel Haigwood and Giovany Gonzalez. The Phillies also had to eat a chunk of Thome's salary, which they're still paying. Still, it was the best offer out there and gave the Phillies something close to what they were looking for in a deal for Thome.
Rowand, the centerpiece of the deal, was a key part of the White Sox team that went to the World Series and it's possible that they didn't realize just how important of a piece he was. Almost from the day that they dealt him, they've tried to reacquire him and word is that a deal to send Rowand back to Chicago is still a possibility.
Ironically, it was Gonzalez that the White Sox reacquired when they took him and pitcher Gavin Floyd in exchange for Freddy Garcia, who may or may not have been damaged goods. After all, Garcia was coming off a season that saw him post a career-high 4.53 ERA in 33 starts. The Phillies also dealt Haigwood, sending him to the Texas Rangers for Fabio Castro. While Castro had shown some signs of promise, he's back in the minors now after an unimpressive start to the season at the major league level.
Much of this deal won't play out until we get a better idea how the younger players involved in the deal turn out. Free agency will also play a part in the deal since both Rowand and Garcia are eligible for free agency after the season.
Here's a look at how things have played out so far in terms of the stats that all of the players involved in the deal have put up since the trade.
|'07 Birmingham (AA)||4||3||2.87||0||13||69.0||54||25||22||6||23||88|
|'06 Frisco (AA)||1||2||3.63||0||12||62.0||66||29||25||4||44||57|
|'07 Portland (AA)||1||2||4.85||0||7||29.2||28||19||16||4||17||42|
Since the Phillies turned Haigwood and Gonzalez into other players, let's take a look at how those players have done for the Phillies since their arrival.
And finally, a look at how Gavin Floyd has done since being dealt to Chicago.
|'07 Charlotte (AAA)||4||3||3.58||11||11||65.1||70||28||26||5||19||55|