Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies recalled catcher Erik Kratz from the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. It was announced later that veteran slugger Jim Thome will be visiting the disabled list for a back injury, clearing the way for Kratz on the 25-man roster.
Thome has struggled mightily this season in his return to Philly since he was traded away midway through 2005. Thome has dealt with chronic back issues his entire career and it’s likely that the fact that he is fielding now in the National League again that has caused his injury.
Thome is just 2-for-18 at the plate, which puts his statline at a dismal .111/.238/.111 with 10 strikeouts in 21 plate appearances. He was supposed to provide the team with a left-handed power bat off the bench a la Matt Stairs of 2008 and 2009, but he has done nothing really except strike out when he has been called upon. Thome has limited defensive skills and he can’t play first base more than maybe once or twice per week, meaning he really isn’t offering a whole lot of value to the Phillies for the $1.25 million they are paying him.
Thome signed a one-year, $1.25 million contract prior to the 2012 season. If he doesn’t start producing, there’s always the chance that the club will release the 41-year old slugger. Thome will likely be told to take his time returning from the disabled list and some minor league rehab at-bats may do him well, especially considering he really is playing poorly this year.