It was recently reported that the Indians are looking at two former sluggers of their own to fill the DH spot: Jim Thome and Travis Hafner. While I would love one of these two in the lineup, I don’t think either should be in f9r a full time role. The Indians have an abundance of […]
It was recently reported that the Indians are looking at two former sluggers of their own to fill the DH spot: Jim Thome and Travis Hafner. While I would love one of these two in the lineup, I don’t think either should be in f9r a full time role.
The Indians have an abundance of options when it comes to the DH spot. The current lineup probably looks a little something like this:
This may be the opening day lineup, presuming Thome isn’t brought it in, but regardless, this will rarely be the lineup. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Carlos Santana will be spending less and less time behind the plate, so here are some options to incorporate Carlos into the DH and First Base spots:
Presumably, these lineups would be options if none of the starters were resting. They seem plenty feasible, but rest is going to come into play at some point. That’s where Jimmy comes in. You’re not going to need Jim a lot. He’s going to come cheap and I feel that will make him the lowest risk move possible. You can assume that he will be productive, even if he’s rarely playing, so I don’t see the downside. Here are a few lineups with Santana or Reynolds resting.
Essentially, if Santana is catching, the DH hole becomes a problem. If Santana isn’t catching, the DH hole is filled by Santana or Reynolds. That’s why I don’t believe that Santana should be catching that much as it is. Marson is a great defensive catcher, and while his bat isn’t much at all, I believe that Santana’s bat will come alive with less time catching.
If Lou’s bat can catch up to his fielding potential, the Indians lineup could very well be set. They would be in the race for the Central Division crown if Marson can pull through and Santana does improve with a lesser role behind the plate.
Essentially, there is no real “need” for Thome which is why I think they could bring him in. You may be asking, well, if they don’t need him, then why would they bring him in? They should bring him in for a slew of reasons.
First and foremost, Jim is often considered one of the best teammates out there and would definitely help this club’s “chemistry”. I would love to see him mentor some of the younger guys like Santana, Kipnis, and even Marson. Honestly, I would rather see him in Cleveland as a hitting coach, but it doesn’t seem as if he is ready to retire just yet, and that doesn’t seem like a real option. Finally, I’m sure the Indians could get him for next to nothing. What’s the risk in getting a guy you use sparingly for little to no money? There is none. The rewards very, very, very much outweigh the risks. There is no risk; the worst thing that happens is that he never plays and sits on the bench, wasting what few dollars the Indians gave to him. Even in that case, he’s still bringing his expertise and leadership to the ball club, both of which are invaluable tools.
I’m not one for bringing in older veterans to fill huge holes. Johnny Damon and Derek Lowe, we saw how those turned out. I am a fan of bringing in older vets to fill the smallest of positions for the team. This DH position is a perfect example of that small role that should be filled by a vet.
If the options are Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, or no one, I think you have to pick Jim Thome or no one. Hafner comes with too large a price tag, too big an ego, and too little of the invaluables that Thome would bring. Hafner simply brings no value to this team. Sure he can connect every once in a while, but then again so can Thome. Jim Thome can do anything that Travis Hafner can do, but with infinitely more value.
I’m also ok with the Indians letting both of them go and letting someone like Mike Aviles take the DH spot when Santana is catching. Aviles was brought in to be a utility man, so why not allow him some ABs? I would even consider Nick Swisher to fill the role if he ever needed some time away from right field.
The Indians are lucky to have plenty of good assets on their baseball team. They have a good solid bench that allows them to be flexible in terms of the lineup. Whether they want to bring in Jim Thome or not, they will be perfectly fine. Thome’s role would only become noticeable if he started putting up major numbers and producing mightily for this baseball team. The rewards would be noticed, but the negatives wouldn’t. I am a huge Jim Thome fan, but would be ok with the Indians deciding to fix the problem internally. The only thing I’d have a problem with would be forgoing Thome for Hafner. That’s a high risk, low reward solution, one that I don’t think the Indians can afford to make.
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove
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