The Mariners struck two deals last night which both began to roll in at about the same time. Casey outlined one of the deals already as Seattle sent Brandon League to the Dodgers for a pair of prospects. The second was a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, sending reliever Steve Delebar for outfielder Eric Thames.
I think this is a great deal for Seattle as they buy low on a left handed bat with potential. Thames flashed raw potential throughout his minor league career but has struggled in adjusting at the big league level. He made his major league debut last year and finished up the year with Toronto. In 394 plate appearances with Toronto, he hit .262/.313/.456 with 12 homeruns. He cracked the opening day roster with Toronto this year but after hitting .243/.288/.365 in 160 PA, he was sent down to AAA. Thames has done nothing but hit at AAA but there just was not room for him in a crowded Blue Jays outfield.
Well now he’ll get another shot to prove himself at the big league level as he’ll be on the 25 man roster with Carlos Peguero heading back down to AAA. The biggest issue for Thames is the approach at the plate. He as a 23.1% K% at the majors and a 5.8% BB%. Approach and discipline have always held Thames back in reaching his potential. He won’t become a big time impact player for Seattle but what he could be is a starting outfielder or useful platoon partner. He certainly is a much more interesting option than Carlos Peguero who was sent down to make room for Thames. Thames could hit for solid power and average at the big league level which certainly is something the Mariners could use.
As far as what the Mariners had to give up — it was not much. Sure, Steve Delabar has posted an impressive 11.29 K/9 and 2.70 this year but the rest of the numbers are not very impressive. He has a 4.17 ERA and a 5.07 FIP this year. He has problems keeping the ball in the ballpark and has not fared well at all away from Safeco field. Batters are hitting .099/.169/.155 off of Delabar at home but .262/.377/.729 on the road. Delebar does have some good stuff but I don’t think he fits as a late inning guy. It was kind of a surprise that he was dealt but I think Seattle got a solid return for him in Eric Thames.