Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. took the same diplomatic stance in discussing Thome's trade to the Orioles for two minor-leaguers. The Phillies no longer saw Thome, with 609 home runs, as a viable option without his getting regular work.
They also wanted Thome to have a shot at contending for his first World Series ring.
When Amaro signed him to a one-year, $1.25 million deal, the expectation was that Thome would play first base maybe once a week to keep his bat sharp. Thome, 41, hadn't played the position in five years. It proved to be a foolish assumption.
Thome was 1 for 17 as a pinch-hitter, with the lone hit being a game-winning home run. He hit .333 (12 for 36) as a designated hitter with four homers.
"To be frank," Amaro said, "when it was very evident he wasn't able to play first base for us, it was difficult to carry this type of a player on our club."
Once Thome's nine-game stint as a designated hitter ended, Amaro began speaking to AL clubs.
"First and foremost, my job is to put us in the position to do the right thing for the organization," Amaro said. "At the same time, the player that we're talking about and the great deal of respect we have for Jim, I wanted to try to put him in a position where he can flourish."
Thome said he was not privy to the final details. He had publicly suggested he would welcome the chance for more at-bats elsewhere.
"There's a part of me that's excited to get a chance to go play a little bit," Thome said. "Baltimore has been having a nice year. It'll be exciting to go over there and help those guys win and get some at-bats."
The return for Thome was lackluster. Catcher Gabriel Lino, 19, will report to single-A Lakewood. Scout Jesse Levis told Amaro he sees Lino as "a high-ceiling catcher." He was hitting .218 with four home runs in 56 games for single-A Delmarva.
Kyle Simon, a 21-year-old sidearming righthander, had a 3.96 ERA in 14 starts for single-A Frederick and will report to single-A Clearwater.