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Decision to let Jim Thome go may cost White Sox the division

Aug 18, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

This offseason the White Sox chose not to re-sign Jim Thome in large part because manager Ozzie Guillen urged general manager Ken Williams to let him go, saying he preferred to cycle various players through the designated hitter spot and make the lineup less homer dependent.
Thome signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Twins and has batted .273/.391/.593 in 253 plate appearances, producing the sixth-best OPS in MLB behind only Miguel Cabrera, Justin Morneau, Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto, and Albert Pujols.
And last night he beat Guillen and the White Sox with a dramatic walk-off homer in the 10th inning.
Meanwhile, the White Sox have gotten a combined .235/.305/.399 line from the DH spot, with Mark Kotsay drawing the most starts at the position. There is still a ton of baseball left to be played and even with the Twins now up four games on the White Sox in the AL Central you can realistically point to any number of players on either team as the “difference” in the standings, but it sure is easy to focus on Thome simply switching sides.

  1. Paper Lions - Aug 18, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Guillen seems to have a LaRussa complex. Managing baseball isn’t as hard as these guys make it. Just put out your best players and let them play (a la Bobby Cox). Double switches, putting in players that have been on the bench for 3 hours as defensive replacements, pinch hitters (who as a group hit much worse than an average major leaguer)….all moves that decrease the chance of winning compared to just leaving in the best players (who should be starting most every game) on the field.
    If the Cardinals made only 15 players available to LaRussa each game to prevent all of his unnecessary pitching changes and pinch hitting and defensive replacements (who almost always represent a defensive downgrade), they would have a better record than they do now.

  2. geoknows - Aug 18, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    This is, after all, the team that deliberately set out to acquire the replacement-level Mark Teahen, then promptly gave him a multi-year contract. They simply have bad taste.

  3. Trevor B - Aug 18, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Minnesota just enjoys capitalizing on mistakes made by our rivals in terms of their old heros. Brett Favre is on the Vikings again afterall. I’d like to see the Twins sign Thome again next year and watch the log-jam at OF with Span, Kubel, Young and Cuddyer.

  4. matt - Aug 18, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    I watched the end of that game last night on MLB network and what a gutshot that must have been for the sox. A major 2 game swing after the twins blow that lead with the mediocre Matt Capps trying to close. The sox were all smiling and laughing then boom!!! Im neither a sox or twins fan but I think Ozzie’s act is tired and old and I was happy to see him get crushed..

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