A word on Jim Thome

The Phillies are currently shopping Jim Thome to AL teams. But what is he really worth? (H. Rumph Jr/AP)

MIAMI — Ten days ago, Ruben Amaro Jr. said he was fielding calls from American League teams regarding Jim Thome. The future Hall of Famer was recently removed from a terrific nine-game stretch as designated hitter. Now he was relegated to the bench.

It's easy to see what will eventually happen. So AL teams called Amaro.

"I may very well have [received calls]," Amaro said June 19. "Fact of the matter was he was great and exceeded everyone’s expectations — including mine. And honestly, he was fantastic and in some ways, it is a little bit of a disservice to have him sit there as a pinch hitter when he can't do much more than that.

"But we'll see what happens. Right now, I hope he gets a couple of chances to win some games, and then we’ll go from there."

Since then, Thome has won the Phillies one game with a walk-off home run. He is 1 for 6 as a pinch-hitter in the last 10 days with four strikeouts. For the season, he is 1 for 17 with 11 strikeouts.

He needs regular work, something that will not happen while with the Phillies.

Thome will not finish the season with the Phillies; Amaro said as much 10 days ago. Now an ESPN.com report has piqued the Internet's interest by changing "fielding calls about Thome" to "shopping Thome."

Not much is different. The Phillies would like to do Thome right by finding the best situation for a man with 609 homers and zero World Series rings.

The return for Thome will be limited. Perhaps the Phillies can have the acquiring team pay the remainder of his $1.25 million salary. Perhaps they could fetch, at best, a marginal prospect — emphasis on the word "marginal" and not "prospect."

Either way, this is about Thome, a man the Phillies respect immensely.

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