The Seattle Mariners certainly need pitching help. It isn’t up for much debate at the moment. However, Seattle also has another need and one that isn’t getting talked about enough.
For you see, the need isn’t the most obvious for the average fan. But the Mariners have a need for some left-handed power. Think about it. Aside from Kyle Seager, where is the left-handed pop? Ben Gamel and Denard Span are the only left-handed regulars besides Seager.
So where can the Mariners find left-handed power at a reasonable price? Enter Eric Thames. The one-time Mariner turned Korean league star, turned big league power hitter, Thames currently plays for the Milwaukee Brewers. But the Brewers have a “problem”.
You see, the Brewers have perhaps the most stacked OF in the league. With Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Ryan Braun on the big league roster, there aren’t regular AB’s for Thames. In addition, Milwaukee has young OF like Brett Phillips and Keon Broxton waiting in the wings.
Thames plays a solid 1B but is currently second fiddle to Jesus Aguilar, who is having an incredible season. For the Mariners, Thames provides a platoon partner with Ryon Healy and the versatility to play some corner OF as well.
Thames is having a nice 2018 season, slashing .230/.330/.550 in just 33 games. His 9 homers in 115 PA shows his 31 homers in 2017 are legit. More importantly, Thames is slashing .239/.337/.591 against RHP, good for a 141 wRC+.
This pairs well with Ryon Healy, who is a career .295/.330/.513 hitters against LHP. A combo of Thames and Healy would be an upgrade to the lineup while giving the Mariners a bit more versatility. Having Thames or Healy on the bench most days gives you a great weapon off the bench, so not only would the Mariners upgrade their left-handed bats, but also their bench.
Now, most importantly, is what would this deal cost? Here is our initial proposal:
The Seattle Mariners trade Nick Vincent and Chase De Jong to Milwaukee for Eric Thames.
The Brewers are in the heart of the playoff hunt, so in order for them to trade a useful piece off their MLB roster, they would likely need one back. Vincent makes an already good bullpen better, giving the Brewers another mid-late inning option, and one who doesn’t issue free passes.
Adding De Jong gives is simply to give the Brewers a bit more and perhaps a pitcher for them to develop (they’ve had pretty good luck with that).
Losing Vincent would be tough, but the Mariners should already be looking for his replacement at the deadline this season. In addition to trade possibilities, the Mariners have relievers like Matt Festa, Art Warren, and Wyatt Mills waiting in the minors, all of whom might be major league ready.
At the end of the day, Thames is a great fit for the Mariners. Perhaps the deal proposed above is a little too light for the Brewers. However, it is a starting point from which to build on. The Brewers don’t need Thames, and get a solid reliever, a decent pitching prospect, and save some cash along the way.
The Mariners need left-handed power, and Eric Thames might just be the perfect fit. His power, combined with his versatility and reasonable contract might be a great addition to help the Mariners attempt to win a playoff series or two in October.