The Orioles traded two prospects, Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino, for three months of Jim Thome. I didn't hear about any money exchanging hands so I'm guessing that Thome will cost around $612,500 since he signed a 1Y/$1.25M contract during the offseason. Unfortunately, there may be another Transaction Scorecard involving Jim Thome in a few weeks. But as of July 1st, the O's are in contention so let's go to the articles.
First up are ESPN's Christina Kahrl and ESPN Stats and Information (no author listed).
Kahrl seems sympathetic toward the trade under the belief that Thome will provide an upgrade over what the O's have used at DH.
There’s a certain kind of wisdom to it when you have bench bats worth playing, but that was not this Orioles team, not when it's been picking from among the likes of infrequently healthy Nick Johnson, minor league veteran Steve Pearce, Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty or career fifth outfielder Endy Chavez. Or what might be more simply referred to as "bad choices."
Over the past two seasons, as a 40- and 41-year-old, Thome has hit .254/.357/.484 for the Twins, Indians and Phillies. This year, DHs around Major League Baseball have put together a .257/.331/.435 line -- which might not sound great, but it’s a better line than what MLB teams are getting from their first basemen or left fielders. But Thome’s been better still, despite the rust that started forming in his infrequent DH role until interleague play helped get him back in action.
In contrast, ESPN Stats is less optimistic about the trade.
The problem is that the Orioles are the one team that Thome has been successful against this season. Now that the Philadelphia Phillies traded him to Baltimore, he'll playing for the Orioles, not against them.
Thome is hitting .083 with no home runs and no RBI against National League opponents this season. Against AL East opponents other than the Orioles, he's hitting .143 (2-for-14) with two solo homers. Against all AL opponents other than the Orioles, he's hitting .184 (9-for-49).
Since the O's/Phillies series in early June, Thome has posted an OPS of 1.008 with 4 HRs in a small sample so I don't know if it's fair to say that Thome has been only successful against the O's (another small sample).
John Sickels doesn't offer a trade analysis but he did post an updated scouting report about Simon and Lino.
Baseball America also gives an updated scouting report on both players.
A 6-foot-5 sinkerball pitcher who ranges from 88-92 mph, Simon has kept the ball on the ground and hasn't hurt himself with walks during his first full season in the Carolina League. Of course, he hasn't missed many bats either, and his strikeout rate (6.1 per nine innings) and WHIP (1.47) do not indicate dominance of high Class A competition. Simon turned in his finest start of the season last time out (two hits, no runs, seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings) and shows feel for a changeup, slider and cutter, so he has back-of-the-rotation or middle-relief potential.
A classic arm-strength-and-power catching prospect, Lino hasn't shown much with the bat in low Class A thus far, but he works well with pitchers and has shown enough feel for the strike zone at a young age to expect offensive growth. He has gunned down 27 percent of basestealers in South Atlantic League play, ranking ninth out of 10 qualified catchers, while also committing the most errors (12) and passed balls (14) among league catchers.
Camden Depot doesn't like giving up Lino and doesn't see the O's making the playoffs.
The Likely Outcome
In all likelihood, I see this as happening. Thome hits pretty well and leaves the team at the end of the year. The Orioles will likely finish in fourth or fifth place, but with a record that is about 15th to 18th best in the league. Kyle Simon will fade out in AAA at some point. Gabriel Lino will eventually get a cup of coffee, impressing people on his defense and making them wish he could square up more.