Marcus Thames Rumors

East Notes: O’s Outfield, Cash, Braves

Here’s the latest from Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta:

  • Outfield is the top priority for the Orioles next week, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The team is trying to bring back Delmon Young on a one-year deal, but may be open to including an option. Young is looking for a multi-year deal after playing for five teams in the last four seasons. Justin Upton may not fit since the club already has several starters slated to hit free agency after the 2015 season. In fact, all of the most readily available outfielders come with baggage that could make them unattractive to Baltimore.
  • Although the O’s have a full 40 man roster, Connolly thinks they will free up space for a Rule 5 draft pick. GM Dan Duquette has a solid track record, having selected Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland in recent seasons.
  • The Rays aren’t worried about newly minted manager Kevin Cash‘s lack of experience, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The existing clubhouse infrastructure should help to ease him into the job. Luminaries such as Terry Francona, David Ortiz, and Chris Gimenez all praised his baseball intelligence.
  • The Braves aren’t done make moves, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a series of tweets. The club is looking to add another starting pitcher, second baseman, and backup catcher. Atlanta is still in the mix for former Braves backstop David Ross, which could address one of those concerns. A left-handed reliever and additional bench help are also on the wish list. As for available funds, they can afford to pursue a moderately priced free agent or perhaps make a bigger splash if they move more money.

New York Notes: Gregorius, Mets Chips, Thames, Reed

The Yankees acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius as part of a three team trade yesterday, but he won’t be expected to fill Derek Jeter‘s shoes, writes Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. Gammons explores the experience of similar infielders like Andrelton Simmons, Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar, and Jonathan Schoop. All reached the majors at a young age and stumbled. It’s likely that most of these skilled athletes simply need to adjust to life in the majors. Gregorius may be experiencing the same growing pains.

  • The Bombers acquired Gregorius to play a steady shortstop, reports Richard Justice of MLB.com in an evaluation of the trade. Gammons’ piece (linked above), noted the young shortstop’s platoon splits, which could open playing time for Brendan Ryan. Gregorius hit .247/.304/.402 against right-handed pitchers while struggling to a .137/.228/.196 line versus fellow lefties. For development purposes, the Yankees won’t want to completely hide him against southpaws.
  • The Mets will be patient with their starting pitching depth, writes Newday’s Marc Carig. Unlike with hitters, the market for pitchers has been slow to develop. Between free agents and a glut of trade targets, teams in need of pitching have a slew of choices. As those go off the board, demand for the Mets’ hurlers should increase. Among those most readily available are Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon, and Dillon Gee. GM Sandy Alderson isn’t concerned, saying “there’s always somebody that needs more pitching.”
  • The Yankees will promote Marcus Thames to assistant hitting coach, reports Anthony McCarron and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. He spent last season as the hitting coach for Double-A Trenton. The former major leaguer retired after 2011.
  • The Yankees also looking to fill the primary hitting coach role. Jody Reed, the Yankees’ minor league field coordinator, is thought to be the favorite. GM Brian Cashman reportedly wanted input from the next hitting coach before hiring an assistant, so the decision to promote Thames may indicate that a move is already being finalized.

Marcus Thames Retires

Marcus Thames has been hired as the hitting coach for the Yankees' high A-ball affiliate in Tampa, the club announced via its Twitter feed, effectively ending the outfielder's ten-year Major League career.  Thames last appeared in the majors in 2011, posting a .576 OPS in 70 plate appearances for the Dodgers.  According to Baseball Reference, the 35-year-old Thames made a little over $6.2MM in his career.

Thames was originally drafted by the Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 amateur draft and had two separate stints in New York, also playing for the Dodgers, Rangers and Tigers, where he spent six seasons.  Thames didn't offer much in the way of batting average or on-base skills but he possessed strong power from the right side of the plate, hitting .246/.309/.485 with 115 homers in 2016 career plate appearances.  His best single season came in 2006 when he posted an .882 OPS in 390 PA and helped the Tigers reach the World Series.



Yankees Sign Marcus Thames

The Yankees signed Marcus Thames to a minor league deal, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. The 34-year-old, who played for the Yankees in 2002 and 2010, will report to the Yankees' minor league complex before he's assigned to Triple-A. Thames hit .288/.350/.491 in a part-time role with the Yankees last year, adding 12 home runs.

The Dodgers released Thames this week after a disappointing stint in which he hit .197/.243/.333 in 70 plate appearances. Though the Dodgers acquired the 34-year-old for his ability to hit left-handed pitching (.824 career OPS), he struggled against southpaws, posting just a .167/.231/.306 line. In ten big league seasons, he has a .246/.309/.485 line with 115 homers.


Dodgers Release Marcus Thames

The Dodgers have released Marcus Thames, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Los Angeles designated the outfielder for assignment a week ago to create roster space for new acquisition Juan Rivera.

Thames hit .197/.243/.333 in 70 plate appearances this year. Though the Dodgers acquired the 34-year-old for his ability to hit left-handed pitching (.824 career OPS), he struggled against southpaws, posting just a .167/.231/.306 line. In ten big league seasons, he has a .246/.309/.485 line with 115 homers.


Dodgers Acquire Juan Rivera; Designate Thames

The Dodgers acquired outfielder Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash considerations and designated Marcus Thames for assignment, announced the team (Twitter links).  Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times tweets that the Dodgers also received cash.

The Jays had to take Rivera and his $5.25MM salary to facilitate the Vernon Wells trade with the Angels in January.  Toronto ended up designating Rivera for assignment on July 3rd.  Rivera, 33, hit .243/.305/.360 for the Blue Jays in 275 plate appearances, playing both outfield corners, first base, and designated hitter. 

Rivera is a right-handed hitter who handles lefties well, which is what the Dodgers thought they were getting when they signed Thames for $1MM in January.  Thames struggled mightily in 70 plate appearances, missing about a month with a quad strain.


Close Continues To Represent 12 Former CAA Clients

Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and Derrek Lee aren’t the only former CAA clients agent Casey Close will continue to represent now that he’s at Excel Sports Management. Close told MLBTR that he still represents Tyler Clippard, Michael Cuddyer, Alex Gordon, Jerry Hairston Jr., Scott Hairston, Casey Kotchman, Ben Sheets, Marcus Thames and Jamey Wright

Close left CAA Sports in February and recently joined the New York-based agency Excel Sports Management. For the latest on all agencies and players, check out MLBTR’s Agency Database.

 


Dodgers Sign Marcus Thames

The Dodgers have officially signed outfielder Marcus Thames to a one-year contract. The deal includes a $1MM base salary and another $800K in incentives.

Thames, 33, would provide the Dodgers with right-handed power and could platoon with Jay Gibbons in left field.  Last season Thames hit .288/.350/.491 with 12 homers in 237 plate appearances for the Yankees. 

MLB.com's Ken Gurnick first reported that the two sides were on the verge of agreeing to a deal while Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times confirmed the agreement. Hernandez later added the financial terms (Twitter links).


Dodgers Nearing Deal With Marcus Thames

The Dodgers are on the verge of signing free agent outfielder Marcus Thames, baseball sources tell MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  However, the club declined to confirm that a signing of the 33-year-old is close.  Thames would provide the Dodgers with right-handed power and could platoon with Jay Gibbons in left field.

Sources say that the Dodgers are also looking at veterans Eric Chavez and Gabe Kapler as they search for a power bat.  The front office also is thinking about moving Matt Kemp from center field to right, Andre Ethier right field to left, and Tony Gwynn starting in center field.  That alignment would help fortify the Dodgers' defense but Gwynn must perform well at the plate in Spring Training in order to make that a possibility.

 


Yankees Have Strong Interest In Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones appears to be the Yankees' top choice as they continue to search for a fourth outfielder, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The sides are still apart on money, Heyman writes. Agent Scott Boras, who represents Jones, also represents Johnny Damon, who is one of the Yankees' backup options. Former Yankee Marcus Thames is still a consideration for the Bronx Bombers.

The Yankees are looking for an outfielder who bats from the right side and can handle left and center field against tough lefties. The team wants a player that can give left-handed batters Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner some rest against select southpaws and provide the team with depth.

Jones, 33, hit 19 homers for the White Sox last year, playing all three outfield positions. He has an .863 OPS against lefties in his career, including a .931 mark in 2010.