Oakland A’s sign Eric Thames to MiLB deal as insurance

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 06: Eric Thames #9 of the Washington Nationals warms up on deck in the seventh inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 06: Eric Thames #9 of the Washington Nationals warms up on deck in the seventh inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Athletics are signing first baseman/corner outfielder Eric Thames to a minor-league contract. The 35-year old spent last season as a member of the Yomiuri Giants before an injury wiped him out for the year.

The Oakland A’s are signing Eric Thames as insurance in case Matt Olson is dealt.

Thames, a sweet-swinging power lefty bat, will make another return stateside in the upcoming campaign. After beginning his career as a member of the Blue Jays and Mariners, Thames chose to head overseas after finding his chances in American baseball were dwindling.

The rest, as they say, is history for Thames. He went on to win the KBO MVP Award in 2015, made two All Star appearances, won two Gold Gloves, and led the KBO in nearly every offensive category multiple times during his three-year tenure.

In the 2016-2017 offseason, Thames elected to return to the United States, signing a three-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. He became an instant fan-favorite, winning over the hearts of the Brewers’ faithful with his dramatic walk-off home runs and warm personality.

Thames’ three-year Brewers career resulted in just under 3.0 bWAR. He left Milwaukee to join the Washington Nationals on a minor-league contract. When Ryan Zimmerman opted out of the 2020 campaign, Thames had an easy shot as the club’s everyday first baseman.

The trip through D.C. did not pan out for anyone involved. Thames hit just .203; striking out 30% of the time and posting -0.3 oWAR with an OPS+ of just 65.

In the 2020-2021 offseason, he found himself once again signing a contract overseas; this time with the Yomiuri Giants. After a red-hot start through his first nine games on the team, Thames tore an Achilles tendon and missed the rest of the season.

Destinations for every Oakland A's trade asset. light. Related Story

The Oakland A’s are ready to sell off their biggest names for the right price. First baseman Matt Olson has found himself firmly in the middle of the offseason trade rumors and figures to be a likely candidate to play elsewhere in 2022. The A’s have brought aboard veteran Eric Thames on a minor-league deal, most likely as insurance should they move on from Olson.