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Thread: Sign Eric Thames (NJH #3)

  1. #1
    Hall of Famer NJH's Avatar
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    Sign Eric Thames (NJH #3)

    This is the third of many offseason threads where I'll take a stance and advocate for the Blue Jays to make a specific move.
    I may not actually think Toronto should make every move, but I'll lay out the case for it in order to generate discussion.

    First two:

    Trade-for-Howie-Kendrick
    Sign-Luis-Valbuena

    Toronto should sign Eric Thames

    We don't know if Eric Thames wants to come back to the MLB. If he does, Toronto should be all over him.

    Thames would generate a lot if interest as a possible low cost, high impact player. The guy has been a monster overseas. In the last three years in the KBO he has finished 3rd, 1st, and 2nd in OPS. He's looked like Babe Ruth in the KBO. It's hard to know what that means in terms of him being a good MLB hitter going forward, but several recent KBO imports can help put it in context.

    In 2014, Thames and Jung Ho Kang hit 37 and 40 homers in the KBO, respectively. They finished within .090 points of OPS and had very similar K and BB totals. Kang came to the majors and has transitioned beautifully with a 131 wRC+ so far for the Pirates.

    In 2014 and 2015 in the KBO Hyun-Soo-Kim didn't approach Thames' level of dominance. Kim walked more than he struck out and hit for a high average, but his OPS in both years was at least .300 points below Thames'. Nonetheless, Kim's approach transitioned well to the big leagues this year with a 119 wRC+ (albeit, somewhat guarded against LHP.)

    Byung-Ho Park is the other side of the coin. In 2014 and 2015 in the KBO he was Thames' equal in terms of offensive production, ranking 2nd in OPS both years. This didn't translate to Minnesota this year though. Park hit for power but struck out at a 33% clip, leading to an 80 wRC+ and a demotion. Park still projects for a 101 wRC+ next year and a lot of his struggles might be explainable by poor BABIP luck, but he likely won't be as successful as the other two imports and he is at serious risk of being a bust.

    Unlike Park, Thames demonstrated a mature approach at the dish in Korea. In 2015 Park struck out 161 times in 140 games. Thames struck out just 91 times, and he walked in a whopping 103 trips to the plate. Thames' contact and batting-eye skills in 2015 were similar to Kim's - Kim walked 101 times that year in the KBO and only struck out 63 times. In the majors this year Kim had a 10.4% walk rate and a 14.7% k rate. In his brief MLB career Thames walked only 5.6% of the time, to go along with a 25.6% k rate. If Thames has matured and can be counted on to post a walk rate similar to Kim's while maybe splitting the difference between Kim's K rate and his own prior K rate, then he could really be an offensive weapon.

    With Michael Saunders likely leaving Toronto looks to have absolutely no source of left handed power in their lineup. Heck, they probably don't even have a left-handed or switch hitter of any competency at all right now. Thames would potentially balance out the lineup in a necessary way.

    Like Park, Thames will have to hit because he won't bring any defensive value to the table. He has strictly been a 1B in Korea and back when he was an MLB outfielder his UZR/150 was -13.6. But Toronto has vacancies at 1B, DH, and LF right now, so Thames certainly fills a need. If he can play LF with any competency at all then he might fit the roster like a glove.

    Thames' fans like myself are still waiting for any confirmation that he'll be coming back to the big leagues. His contract is up in the KBO. He made just $1.5M last year, so a massive pay raise would be the biggest draw for Thames. Last year the Twins guaranteed $12M to Park, but it was a bit of a weird contract with that money being spread across four years. Kang signed an almost identical contact the year prior for $11M with Pittsburgh. If Thames would sign for something similar then a dozen MLB teams will be trying to woo him. Thames is an exotic superstar in the KBO though and he could probably make a similar AAV to that by staying in Korea, so I think he'll want a higher AAV on his MLB contract and perhaps a shorter term, so he can get to the MLB arbitration stage quicker and be in a stronger negotiating position more quickly.

    Note: Thames had a DUI in Korea at the tail end of this season. I'm not sure if they will affect his transition situation in any meaningful way.

    If Chocolate Thunder wants to give MLB another crack then Shatkins need to do everything in their power to get him back into the Blue Jays organization.

    Please sign Eric Thames. Please.

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    DONOR | Super Moderator G-Snarls's Avatar
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    OK this is my favorite one so far

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    I like to bring the new Thames back. He was a great guy and the numbers don't lie. Would definitely like to see us take a chance on him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Snarls View Post
    OK this is my favorite one so far
    Valbuena > Thames > Kendrick for me
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
    Unfortunately, they really skimped out on the crickets on mine because they add a pretty flavourful crunch element on top of the coleslaw.

  7. #5
    DONOR | Super Moderator G-Snarls's Avatar
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    Thread needs a damn picture or two though


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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Snarls View Post
    Thread needs a damn picture or two though

    Guy is a monster.

  9. #7
    DONOR | Super Moderator G-Snarls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonn View Post
    Guy is a monster.
    Looks like a linebacker or tight end

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    #TeamSmoak
    #TeamSanchez

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    All Star Terminator's Avatar
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    What's his better "position"? Would love to bring him and Pearce on board as cheaper options to go along with a Fowler or EE signing or something.

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    All Star Terminator's Avatar
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    For what it's worth Thames' 2016 MLE in the Korean League was a pretty robust .258/.341/.513.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Snarls View Post
    Thread needs a damn picture or two though

    Holy shit. He's a beast.

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    DONOR | Super Moderator G-Snarls's Avatar
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    What is PED testing like in the KBO?

    Just asking. No insinuation

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    This is some good work NJH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Snarls View Post
    What is PED testing like in the KBO?
    There is none. That's why Thames can't even button up his jersey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Snarls View Post
    What is PED testing like in the KBO?
    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160307000416.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    There is none. That's why Thames can't even button up his jersey.
    Incorrect.

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