Marcus Thames Rumors

Yankees Sign Marcus Thames

The Yankees signed Marcus Thames, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that it's a minor league deal worth $900K if he makes the team.  Thames originally came up through the Yankees' system but was traded to the Rangers in '03 for Ruben Sierra.

Thames, 33 in March, hit .252/.323/.453 in 294 plate appearances for the Tigers last year, logging 125 innings in left field.  He also has experience in right field and at first base in his career.  He's a right-handed hitter with a .263/.326/.541 line against southpaws over the last three years.

Thames became a free agent in November, as the Tigers were not going to tender him a contract at a salary higher than 2009's $2.275MM.

Damon Remains Unlikely For Yankees

Buster Olney of ESPN and Joel Sherman of the New York Post find a Johnny Damon-Yankees reunion unlikely.

Both writers say Damon would have to greatly reduce his salary demands.  According to Sherman, the Yankees are telling agents they have only $2MM to spend.  Both writers also agree that Brian Cashman would have to lobby Hal Steinbrenner to expand the budget to accomodate Damon.  Sherman says a July trade for Mike Cameron was scrapped because Hal would not approve a $5.5MM increase.

In the likely event the Yanks move on from Damon, Sherman ranks the team's targets: Xavier Nady, Reed Johnson, Rocco Baldelli, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Marcus Thames.

Royals Considering Gomes, Thames

The Royals are looking to add a power hitter, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The bat would slot into right field or the DH spot, depending on the health of Jose Guillen.  Morosi names Jonny Gomes and Marcus Thames as two players of interest who could fit into Dayton Moore's limited budget.

Gomes, 29, was non-tendered by the Reds after hitting .267/.338/.541 in 314 plate appearances.  35% of those PAs came against left-handed pitching, keep in mind.  Gomes would be best-served as a DH, as his limited defensive work in the outfield corners grades poorly.  We haven't heard about much of a market for Gomes, aside from seemingly mild interest from the Reds and Yankees.

Thames, 33 in March, hit .252/.323/.453 in 294 plate appearances for the Tigers and was cut loose in November.  He saw lefties even more often than Gomes.  The main defensive difference between the two is Thames' 239.3 career innings at first base.  The Indians and Blue Jays were named as interested parties in mid-December, though the Tribe may be out after signing Austin Kearns and Shelley Duncan.

Though not mentioned by Morosi, free agents Gary Sheffield and Jermaine Dye also fit the profile of right-handed bats with pop and limited defensive ability.

Indians, Blue Jays Eyeing Marcus Thames

The Indians and Blue Jays have interest in free agent outfielder Marcus Thames, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Thames, 33 in March, hit .252/.323/.453 in 294 plate appearances this year, logging 125 innings in left field.  He's also spent time at right field and first base in his career.  Thames earned $2.275MM this year, and the Tigers let him go in November.

Thames is better against left-handed pitching.  His 2007-09 splits: .263/.326/.541 against lefties, .233/.281/.461 against righties.

Red Sox Winter Meetings Preview

Peter Abraham takes a look at the Red Sox checklist as they head into this year's Winter Meetings. Abraham is sure to note that his focus is on what Boston needs, not the fantasy trade scenarios that fans may want. Says Abraham, "The Sox needs refining, not rebuilding." That said, let's take a look:

  • The easy solution in left field is to bring back Jason Bay. Abraham says though, that the acquisition of Jeremy Hermida presents Boston with the option of signing a right-handed hitter, such as Xavier Nady, to form a platoon. The Red Sox could also let Bay go in favor of pursuing Matt Holliday.
  • While the rotation appears to be set for now with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield, Abraham says the Sox could use a "No. 5.5 starter, a No. 6, and possibly a No. 7" for depth. He names the usual suspects, including Ben Sheets, Erik Bedard, and Rich Harden.
  • Boston has requested medical reports on Mike Gonzalez, and will need to fill out the back of the bullpen for 2010. Abraham feels the Red Sox will invite about a dozen relievers to camp and see who performs well.
  • Boston should look to add a veteran outfielder and infielder for bench depth. Abraham says Boston doesn't seem interested in keeping Rocco Baldelli around. He names Adam Everett, Craig Counsell, Reed Johnson, Marcus Thames, and Adam Kennedy as options.
  • Abraham doesn't see Buchholz, Casey Kelly, or Ryan Westmoreland being dealt. He names Casey Kotchman, Josh Reddick, and Manny Delcarmen as trade chips.
  • Abraham also speculates on the possibility of Jonathan Papelbon being traded. With Daniel Bard waiting in the wings, this isn't the first time someone has speculated on the possibility of Papelbon being shipped off.

Marcus Thames, Matt Treanor Become Free Agents

Marcus Thames and Matt Treanor became free agents today, according to's Jason Beck.  Both former Tigers were non-tender candidates anyway, but apparently they've been outrighted or released.

Thames, 33 in March, hit .252/.323/.453 in 294 plate appearances while playing 125 innings in left field and spending the rest of his time at DH.  Thames has played a little first base and right field in his career as well.

Treanor, 34 in March, had only 14 plate appearances this year due to a hip injury.  He caught 524 innings for the Marlins back in '08, earning him a $750K contract with the Tigers in December.

Tigers, Mets Deal Fell Through

According to Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers have had serious talks recently with the Mets about reliever Brian Stokes; however, any deal fell apart when Stokes became likely to make their roster.

Morosi mentions Tigers infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn would've been a part of the deal.

With Joel Zumaya heading to the disabled list to start the season, the Tigers are looking for relief help with just over one week to go until the start of the season, says Morosi. Along with Rayburn, the Tigers have put outfielder Marcus Thames on the trading block

Tigers Talking Trade

Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press has articles here and here about the possibility of a Tigers trade before the season begins.  GM Dave Dombrowski admitted that trade discussions have intensified lately.

One possible need is a second lefty reliever, but the Tigers could potentially fill that role with Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis.  Morosi adds that a need at catcher could surface if Matt Treanor's current injury is serious.  And he notes that the team always needs young pitching.

As far as trade candidates, Marcus Thames ($2.275MM salary) leads the pack.  Thames has big power and not much else, but the Tigers chose to tender him a contract for '09.  Morosi wonders if the Reds could be a match, though their outfield picture seems set with Jonny Gomes taking on the right-handed slugger role.  Other trade candidates: Mike Hessman, Ryan Raburn, or Brent Clevlen.

Gammons On Matthews, Teahen, Harang, Peavy

12:07pm: John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer asked Reds GM Walt Jocketty about Gammons' Harang note.  Jocketty said, "I'm not going to comment on something when he doesn't know what he's talking about."

9:19am: ESPN's Peter Gammons had a new blog post yesterday discussing available players.

  • Gammons names Geoff Jenkins ($8MM remaining, limited no-trade), Brian Giles ($9MM remaining, full no-trade), Gary Matthews Jr. ($33.5MM remaining, full no-trade), Marcus Thames ($2.275MM salary), Nick Johnson ($5.5MM salary), Jason Repko, and Jeff Baker as players being dangled.  Gammons links Matthews to the Yankees but admits his contract will be an issue.
  • Mark Teahen has drawn interest from the Astros, Red Sox, and Yankees.
  • Gammons says the Reds "have let teams know that they will wait and see whether they need to move Aaron Harang during the season."  It'd be a shame to see the Reds break up that rotation.  Harang has about $36MM coming to him over the next three seasons if his 2011 option is exercised.
  • Brewers third baseman Bill Hall expects his team to pursue Padres ace Jake Peavy if available this summer.  Unlike C.C. Sabathia, Peavy is more than a rental.

Tigers Could Make Trade

Lynn Henning of the Detroit News expects the Tigers to make a trade before the regular season, "perhaps a big one." Henning writes that the team could trade away starting pitching if Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis are healthy. Henning also mentions Marcus Thames and Ryan Raburn as possible trade candidates.

Willis and Robertson each have considerable negative trade value, as they’ll both make at least $7MM in 2009 and 2010. Unless the Tigers are willing to pay most of that, they’d have to trade one of their other starters: Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson or Zach Miner. Trading one of those starters would leave the Tigers with a thin rotation.

The Tigers don’t have a starting spot for Thames if Gary Sheffield stays healthy.