Eric Thames is planning on holding a showcase in Korea in November, according to a report from MK Sports relayed by The Athletic’s Sung Min Kim. The slugger previously played in Korea from 2014 to 2016 and parlayed his star turn there into a three-year, $16MM deal with the Brewers for the 2017-2019 seasons. He had a solid run over the length of that deal, playing 383 games, hitting 72 home runs and slashing .241/.343/.504. That production was 18% better than league average, according to wRC+. But it only amounted to 5 fWAR due to his defensive limitations. The Brewers passed on a 2020 option, leading Thames to sign a one-year deal with the Nationals. That turned out to be a miserable campaign for Thames, as he hit just .203/.300/.317. He then signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Unfortunately, as Kim notes, Thames missed all but one game this year due to a torn achilles. It’s unclear who will be invited to the showcase, but it stands to reason that interest from MLB teams will be limited, given how the past couple of years have gone. However, if this winter’s Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations lead to a universal DH, as has been widely speculated, that could theoretically increase the chance of Thames getting offers, though likely only of the minor league variety.
Some other items of note from the baseball world…
- The Pirates have interest in re-signing Yoshi Tsutsugo, according to Alex Stumpf of DK Pittsburgh Sports. Given how Tsutsugo performed (.268/.347/.535 with eight homers in 144 plate appearances) after signing with the Pirates in August, it isn’t a surprise that the Bucs would want him back in the fold. Returning to Pittsburgh on a short-term (or one-year) deal makes sense for both sides, Stumpf reasons, as Tsutsugo would get a full season as a platform year for a bigger deal in the 2022-23 offseason, while the Pirates would get a relatively inexpensive player who could maybe be flipped at the trade deadline. A few weeks ago, MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote about Tsutsugo’s breakout with the Pirates.
- Over at Baseball America, in relation to the CBA expiring December 1st, J.J. Cooper answers a question about a theoretical work stoppage and how that would impact the minor leagues. Cooper reminds readers about previous stoppages and how the minor leagues continued essentially as normal. However, only players not on a 40-man roster were allowed to participate since the MLBPA includes every player who is on one. If the next strike or lockout follows historical precedent, that means baseball fans could get their fill with minor league ball while waiting for the big leagues to return. Cooper also relays that the 1994 Rule 5 draft took place during the most recent strike of 1994. This situation could theoretically pop up again, as the current CBA expires December 1st, with the Rule 5 draft typically taking placing a the end of the Winter Meetings, in the second week of December.