Brewers Sign KBO MVP Eric Thames

Eric Thames is getting another opportunity with major league baseball. He had a brief two year career playing for Seattle and Toronto. He showed some pop in those two years with 21 homeruns. In 2013 he spent all his time in the minor leagues. The Mariners traded him to the Orioles and after being put on waivers in September he was claimed by the Astros. The Astros released him in December so he could pursue his career in Korea with the NC Dinos.

In the KBO Thames hit 124 homeruns and drove in 379 runs, numbers good enough to win him the MVP award in 2015. Those kind of numbers were also good enough for the Brewers to release Chris Carter and to sign Eric Thames to play first base for them next year.

The contract is interesting in that Eric has the right to decline an option to the minors, similar to what the Orioles had to go through with Syun Woo Kim. The contract is worth $16 million guaranteed over three years with another $7.5 million he can earn on a team option in 2020. He gets $4 million in 2017 with $1 million salary increases each of the next two years. If the team does not exercise the $7.5 million option they must pay him $1 million.

Last year Carter hit 41 homeruns with the Brewers. His batting average is low while his strikeout numbers are high. Defensively Carter was a bit challenged in the outfield and at first base. The Brewers may get the same kind of player in Thames but with less power and a better average and contact rate. This production will also come at a lower price than the $8 million plus Carter was expected to get in arbitration this year.

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