Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Marcus Thames: Probably An Ex-Tiger Before Long

Marcus Thames, I fear, has played his last game as a Tiger.

Thames: too crowded in Detroit for him?

There wouldn't appear to be any space for Thames, a righthanded-hitting outfielder/DH, now that Craig Monroe is entrenched as the team's leftfielder, and Gary Sheffield is in place as the DH. Thames could be a bench player, but he is a player who needs at-bats to be effective. The Tigers won't realize his total worth at the rate of 200 or so AB per season. Plus, he's not a pinch-hitter type -- he strikes out too much.

If there's anyone who feels the heat of these Winter Meetings in Florida this week, it is most likely Thames, who is a powerful man capable, I believe, of some 30+ HR, 100+ RBI seasons as a fulltime player. But there just doesn't appear to be room for him on the Tigers roster.

It was Thames, you might recall, who was "discovered" by manager Jim Leyland's brother, Larry, who lives in the Toledo area. Larry Leyland told his brother of Thames' exploits, and that scouting report, along with Thames' performance in spring training the last two years, landed him a spot on the team's 25 man roster.

Marcus Thames is, for my money, the strongest hitter the Tigers have employed since Cecil Fielder terrorized American League pitchers in the early-1990's. But he is nonetheless behind Monroe on the depth chart, and Sheffield is surely the everyday DH. And Thames is out of minor league options, so no more trips to Toledo for him. Which is as it should be, because Thames is a major leaguer, no question.

The Tigers may choose to keep him around, maybe even through spring training '07, hoping to package him for another need. But I wouldn't count on him to head north with the team in April.

Too bad for Tigers fans, but maybe good for Marcus Thames, I would say.


Blogger Ozz said...

There are some who feel that he is a superstar in the making, if only he could get a full-time shot. I don't think that he'll be a superstar, but I do think he'll be pretty good.

I think of Thames as another Ben Oglivie. The Tigers had Ben in the mid '70s, but never really gave him much of a shot. He was traded to the Brewers and became a very productive player, with at least a couple huge offensive seasons to his credit.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

Don't talk to me about Oglivie. The Tigers traded him for pitcher Jim Slaton, who then became a free agent after one year in Detroit -- and signed with Milwaukee! So the Brewers ended up with Benji AND Slaton!

1:32 PM  
Blogger Ozz said...

Yeah, not a good trade.

6:20 PM  
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