As you no doubt have heard, Eric Thames has traded blue for teal in being shipped to the Seattle Mariners with Steve Delabar going to the Toronto Blue Jays. And while I pray your fantasy roster has better options than Eric Thames at the moment, it’s possible you might want to take a flyer on him at least in the short term.
First of all, Thames ought to play, and play regularly. The Mariners outfield has been a real circus of moving parts in the last few weeks. Ichiro Suzuki was obviously traded. Franklin Gutierrez can’t stay healthy. Sometimes left fielder Mike Carp moved to first base with Justin Smoak banished to AAA. Chone Figgins, Carlos Peguero, and Trayvon Robinson are terrible, horrible, and no-good.
The organization needs to figure out what in the world they’re going to do for 2013 and beyond, and a lot of that is impacted by the play of Casper Wells, Michael Saunders, and now Eric Thames. Forget the fact that Wells and Thames are likely destined for a left field platoon, that’s really only relevant to “real baseball” and the Mariner future. What you’re interested is the now and the number of posteriors you’re gazing up at in the standings. And I’m thinking that Eric Thames, just maybe, could help you.
Why? Well, nine of the next 11 games the Mariners play will be on the road. Six of them will be at a couple of the friendliest places on earth for left handed batters to hit – New York and Baltimore. Overall in August, 16 of their 27 games will be on the road. So you can almost throw out that whole Safeco-Field-kills-anything-with-a-stick notion. If Thames does bupkis over the next 12 days, there’s nothing that stops you from cutting him during Seattle’s mid-month homestand anyway. If he holds his own or inexplicably catches fire, then you’ve got yourself an interesting option for their White Sox and Minnesota road trip, even if you still don’t want to play him at Safeco.
If you’re in a position where your roster allows enough depth to play match-ups or platoons, Thames isn’t a bad candidate to add to the rotation. Against right handed pitching, Thames has hit .265/.316/.442 with 26 doubles and 12 HR’s over 396 plate appearances in his career. At AAA this season, he hit .333/.408/.572 versus RHP with 14 doubles, and six HR’s over 159 at bats. He’s certainly got some pop in his bat, but almost all of it comes off of right handed pitchers. So if you’re a match-up maven, he might fit into your plans.
Keep an eye on what the organization does here in the next 24 hours, because his acquisition ought to mean that Carlos Peguero is sent packing, but if he’s not, that might clog things up a bit. They could also wind up acquiring another outfielder that could do the same, who knows. But as it stands, Eric Thames really ought to see a good deal of playing time over the next two months – and if you play the park and match-ups right, he just might be useful.