Brewers Make a Smart Move on Eric Thames
Milwaukee Brewers had to decide whether they were picking up Eric Thames’ option for 7.5 million dollars. This decision had to be made before Monday. Brewers decided to decline it and make Thames a free agent for the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Thames figures to be a potential option for teams that include the Brewers for a lesser cost, overseas teams considering his popularity and American League teams where he can be a Designated Hitter. Albeit being popular with the fan base, this is the right call by the Brewers.
Thames had an awesome year. There is no question about it. He hit 25 home runs, an average of .247 with an OBP of .346 last season. He was a productive player for Brewers last season. After having a miserable 2018 season, Thames came through with a huge bounceback year. He had an excellent year at Miller Park hitting .274 in his own yard with 14 of his 25 homers at The Keg. One thing that would not be highlighted in his season is the defense. Thames did not provide the defense you would want out of a first baseman.
Defense could be a bigger issue than you think considering Brewers fired Carlos Subero, their first base coach and infield coach. Reports are out that Milwaukee isn’t happy with Orlando Arcia’s regression as a defender and with Thames’ struggles plus Keston Hiura at second, it is a bit of an infield disaster. Brewers’ infield defense is one of the major reasons why Milwaukee’s pitching staff was successful. Take Jhoulys Chacin for example, he thrived last year with a great defense last season, and he completely fell apart this season. The defense isn’t the only reason but it played a part.
Ryan Braun is another reason why Thames could be on the move. Milwaukee currently has a log jam in the outfield with Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Trent Grisham and Ryan Braun. All four should be starting on Opening Day. The problem is there are only three outfielders. Braun played first base a bit in 2018, and it did not really work out. Brewers may explore this option again with Travis Shaw (If the team picks up his option, 4.7 million) as his left-handed platoon.
Thanks for the memories, Eric. It was a fun ride. Don’t be surprised either if the Brewers try to make a move to bring him back for less money.