Slugger Eric Thames is in agreement on a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, as first reported by Sports Hochi. Reports out of Japan have pegged the one-year contract’s value in the vicinity of $1.2MM, though the precise number remains unclear. Thames is repped by Apex Baseball.
Thames becomes the second former Brewers first baseman to join the Giants in as many days, as Justin Smoak is also reported to be wrapping up a deal to join the Giants. That could mean that one or both will spend ample time at designated hitter, and Thames of course has plenty of experience playing the outfield corners as well.
The 2020 season was a tough one for Thames, who inked a one-year pact with the Nationals last winter. The 34-year-old had a productive three-year run with the Brewers (.241/.343/.504 with 72 homers and a 118 wRC+), but his lone season in D.C. resulted in a .203/.300/.317 batting line through 140 trips to the plate.
Thames is no stranger to playing overseas, having starred for the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization from 2014-16 before returning to MLB with the Brewers in 2017. This will mark his first action in NPB, however. Depending on how the 2021 season plays out for Thames, he should again be an interesting free agent next winter. With a productive year for the Giants, it’s easy to see him drawing legitimate interest from all three of MLB, NPB and the KBO a year from now.