Tuesday, November 29, 2016
(11/29/2016 10:14:00 AM) - Al
As I surmised last night upon hearing the Crew would not tender Carter, Stearns already had his replacement all but in house. MIL signs Eric Thames, who has been playing in South Korea the past few seasons, to a 3 yr/$16M contract. The deal has provisions allowing Thames to become a FA after the 3 years is up, even though he will not have 6 years of service time. It also limits how Thames can be sent to the minors, although given how little he signed for, he's not that overpaid even if he ends up being a reserve.
Over his three seasons with the NC Dinos, Thames compiled a ridiculous .348/.450/.720 batting line and swatted 124 home runs and 64 stolen bases. While those Ruthian numbers aren’t exactly unheard of in Korea, they do represent top-level production in a competitive league. It’s worth noting, too, that Thames fared rather well in terms of plate discipline, racking up 235 walks to go with his 293 strikeouts.--MLBTR
Those are video game like numbers, and there's no way Thames will be able to come close to hitting those stats in a league in which he will be facing top pitchers on a daily basis. However, Thames had a decent sample in the minors and majors before he went to the Orient to cash in and get everyday playing time.
Thames already has a track record in North American ball. He struck out 175 times in 684 major league plate appearances, all coming in 2011 and 2012, but was hardly unable to compete. Thames carried a .250/.296/.431 batting line and hit 21 home runs in his 181-game MLB run. He has also spent quite a bit of time at Triple-A, racking up a .312/.389/.506 slash and 23 dingers over 870 trips to the plate at the highest level of the minors.--MLBTR
A line of .300/.430, while not outstanding, is not worthless either. It seems likely Thames was simply looking for an opportunity to play in the bigs and was willing to do so for far less than he could have got going year to year, assuming he has any measure of success. And, while his salary is certainly manageable, one must not forget, he is set for life, as are a few generations with any type of money management.
Thames is a LH hitter, but has hit LHP decently too during his MLB time. I have no idea what kind of defender he is, but while he has played 1B in Korea, he was a corner OF in the states. I assume he is expected to man 1B most days for MIL, but admittedly, no one has any idea how he will hit. I think it's safe to say the Brewers are expecting him to end up somewhere between his MLB production and his video game like output in the KBL. Even if he only matches his 2011-12 numbers, he's a fine risk, as his upside is probably higher than any FA 1B this offseason.
11/29/2016 10:14:00 AM