Jim Thome Heads West; Colletti Recreates 1997 Indians

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Hey, remember when current Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was the hitting coach for the 1997 Indians? Yeah, me neither! But he was in charge of two future Hall of Famers who, as of last night, have finally been reunited after nine years apart. Jim Thome was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers where he'll reunite with Manny Ramirez.

The two guys have combined for over 1100 homers in their career; this year, Thome's got 23 tater tots while Manny has 15 in about half a season's worth of plate appearances. I have no idea how Thome will be used in the Dodgers lineup; after all, the fella uses a first basemen's glove about as well as an elephant uses a harpsichord. But if Joe Torre chooses to use Thome as a super pinch-hitter in the mold of a West Coast Matt Stairs, he should have many opportunities to enter the game in the fifth inning to replace a tired Clayton Kershaw.

The Dodgers also plucked veteran starter Jon Garland from the Diamondbacks; Garland spent a couple years with Thome on the White Sox so it's quite clear that Dodgers G.M. Ned Colletti is doing his best to make ol' Jim as comfy as possible in his new digs.

So hopefully, the Dodgers will be able to build on twelve-year-old nostalgia and maybe even encourage Casey Candaele to come out of retirement. But hey, there are other players still active from the 1997 Indians: shortstop Omar Vizquel, left fielder Brian Giles (barely), starter Bartolo Colon, reliever David Weathers, and the curse of Jose Mesa that hangs over the entire Cleveland metropolitan area.

(Photo stolen from the SI Vault. Shh, don't tell)

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Any time you can go out and get a guy who tells you on the phone BEFORE you get him "But playing first base is not something I’m going to be able to do — maybe in an emergency situation, perhaps," then that is something you need to do. Especially if you're an NL team. And Thome is a club house guy, too. His VOOI (value over other intangibles) is like 3.807.

As a Phillies fan, I look forward to the possibility of meeting the Dodgers in the playoffs.

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