Beerleaguers observe that by moving Jim Thome for prospects, they gain a pair of intriguing young players, and some breathing room under the luxury tax threshold.
Orioles get their bat: "Good trade for Dan Duquette and the O's. They desperately needed an upgrade at designated hitter and Thome put on a nice display there a few weeks ago. The AL East is open, too, with the injury problems the Yanks have in their rotation. They still need to pick up a veteran corner outfielder and another veteran starter to legitimately make a stronger run. As for the Phils, don't underestimate the $600k or so they save with this trade. I have no doubt they will look to move other secondary pieces at the deadline to save a few bucks and make sure they stay below the luxury tax threshold." - MG
Phils get quality kids, cut payroll: "The prospects the Phils got aren't garbage. Gabriel Lino is a FA signing (by ex-Phillie Calvin Maduro!) out of the DR who had a pretty nice offensive year in the GCL in 2011. He's just 19, young for the Sally League, and struggling a bit with the bat at Delmarva this season (.218/.282/.340). The Phils don't have any catching prospects outside of Seb Valle (sorry Tuffy) so this is a nice addition. Lino's very toolsy and scouts think he'll develop some power as he gets older. His strike zone judgment plummeted with the move up to A ball, but he's shown a good eye in the past. Defensively, he's got a good arm but is very raw.
"As long as Sebastian Valle continues to show hideous plate judgment (and we are in year four of that) it's possible Lino could pass him by. Kyle Simon is a polished, pitch-to-contact guy out of the U of Arizona (2011 4th round). He is a Kyle Kendrick type: fastball around 90 mph, relies on sinker, which is very effective when he places it correctly. He projects as a middle reliever/spot starter. He's holding his own at age 21 in high A ball and needs to move to Double A either later this season or next.
"Lino has more upside and at a valuable position, but Simon is the safer bet, for now, to actually make the big leagues." - clout
Beerleaguer: I don't necessarily view this as a sign of more selling, since Thome wasn't going to fetch anything other than prospects, but if they were 10 up instead of 10 back, the deal doesn't go down the exact same way. This was really the Phils' one opportunity to secure value for Thome from a contending team in need of a DH, and the Orioles aren't going to weaken their club by trading big league talent. The Phils couldn't even work Thome into one final at bat in today's miserable loss, which, for all intents and purposes, sums up why the the Phils did the right thing by getting him off this sinking ship. It also creates a soft landing for Ryan Howard in a few weeks. If the Phils fall farther out of contention, Howard, who doesn't look ready for the field, might actually hold the same role as Thome anyway.
Prospect rankings: Baseball America ranked Lino as Baltimore's 21st best prospect before the season. Simon ranked 18th.