What to do with Marcus Thames

Jeter wants to 'call the shots'
RAB on The Shore Sports Report

Let’s cut right to chase here: Marcus Thames has been absolutely dreadful in Spring Training so far. He’s reached base in just four of his 33 plate appearances, and all three of his hits are singles. Thirteen of those plate appearances, or nearly 40%, have ended with strike three. That’s not what the Yankees expected when they offered him a chance to win a job on their bench back in February. We talk about how insignificant Spring Training stats are all the time, and generally they are, but there are some instances in which they do have some meaning. One of those instances is when you have a guy like Thames trying to win a job.

Unfortunately the Yankees have already jettisoned Thames’ primary competition from camp, shipping Jamie Hoffmann back to Dodgers. Hoffmann’s spring performance wasn’t anything to write home about either (3-for-23, three walks, one strikeout), but unlike Thames he’s able to contribute something beyond offense. Baseball America rated him as the best defensive outfielder in the organization before he was returned, and he’s capable of double digit steals. Thames is a proven commodity on both defense and on the bases, posting a -12.2 UZR/150 in over 1,760 innings in leftfield, and he’s stolen a grand total of three bases in over 500 big league games. If he’s not hitting, he has no value. It’s that simple.

With Hoffmann gone and almost all of the other non-roster invitees shipped out, it leads us to believe that Thames has all but locked up a spot on the 25-man roster. He’s a Proven Veteran™ after all, and over the last three years he’s hit .263-.326-.541 with a studly .370 wOBA against lefthanders. That’s going to his primary job, to come off the bench and pinch hit against the lefty late in the game or occasionally start against one in lieu of Brett Gardner. The track record is certainly there, but Thames isn’t young (turned 33 earlier this month), and over the last four years he’s become increasingly more susceptible to fastballs (0.72 runs above avg against fastballs per 100 thrown in ’06, 0.40 in ’07, -0.07 in ’08, and -0.24 in ’09). If that’s the not the sign of a guy losing some bat speed, then I don’t know what is.

At this point, the only other realistic in-house option is Kevin Russo, who was just shipped to minor league camp. He had himself a very nice camp (8-for-25, three doubles) and offers the ability to play all over the infield and fill in at the outfield corners if need be. Russo will never offer the power Thames has, even with the latter in his decline phase, but he’s got better plate discipline and is more contact oriented. It’s an imperfect solution to an imperfect situation.

Despite his struggles, it’s all up guaranteed that Thames will break camp with the Yankees as their designated lefty masher. He can opt out of his contract if he doesn’t make the team, so there’s no option of stashing in the minors and hoping he finds his stroke. Joe Girardi rolled out the excuse that he hasn’t face many lefties this spring, but they’re supposed to this weekend so we can see how that goes. Scheduled to face southpaws Jon Lester and David Price within the first four games of the season, the Yanks are going to need Thames to start hitting and soon. Otherwise they’re better off taking 0-fers from Brett Gardner while reaping the rewards of his defense as they prowl the waiver wire and trade market for a suitable fill in.

Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel, AP

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Jeter wants to 'call the shots'
RAB on The Shore Sports Report
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    Oy.

    *takes a deep breath, remembers that Vicente Padilla isn’t the Yanks’ Opening Day starter, and remembers it could be a lot worse*

    • Christ

      Marucus Thames will come thru for yankees with his power stroke… even tho spring training not goin so well he still will help the yankees be that elite ball club. No worries marcus only you know what you can do so take it step by step cause in the end you will shine ……..

      • Dirty Pena

        Thnk u 4 enlitining us Jesus!

  • Mike Z

    I would like to see the Yankees cut Thames and sign Dukes.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      +Eleventy for this

    • Flippa

      one word. WHY?!?!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size
    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Thanks Mortimer!

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        BEEF JERKY TIME!!!!

        • Thomas

          Pork bellies.

  • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

    well…at least f he doesn’t hit they can….meh whatever. mi still recovering from the those who shall not be named and the fact that thames is going to be sucking ace til they cut him hasnt overtaken that yet.

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      still baffled by the hoffmann return so soon as well

      • Sal

        I’m just happy we don’t have Brian Bruney anymore. If he saves 40 games this years for the Nat’s I’ll still be happy.The only reason we had Hoffmann was because no one wanted to just cut Brian Bruney . Now the yankess can say we made a deal that didn’t workout if Brian Bruney has a good year! He was a WHINER

  • radnom

    “Spring training don’t mean shit.”

    • radnom

      Let’s talk if its still a problem as we approach May.

  • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

    At this point, the only other realistic in-house option is Kevin Russo…

    What about Golson? Isn’t he also an realistic option?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Very true, good point. I always forget about him.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size
        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          Reply fail? I’m confused.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            I’m DFAing Axisa for making the mistake of forgetting about Golson.

            We demand perfection from our RABbis. Absolute and utter perfection.

            • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

              Fair enough. I just thought your reply was directed at SGBL.

              • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                TSJC’s Reply-fails are seldom.

                He is legend.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  I made a mistake once… just to see how it felt.

                • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                  I’m on a horse.

                • Thomas

                  I’m on a boat.

                • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                  Look at your man sitting next to you. [Ed. note: Jason Hirsch??]
                  Now back at me.

                • ColoYank

                  So much for the 2010-will-be-the-year-no-memes meme.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  Winning is a habit I can’t seem to quit.
                  Failure is the one game I refuse to win.
                  Handsomeness is a burden my face has to live with… every day.

                  http://tinyurl.com/yz5e3g2 (safe)

                • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                  So much for the 2010-will-be-the-year-no-memes meme.

                  Meh, it wasn’t so much “no memes” as “fewer memes”.

                  This is only the second or third meme on this thread, right?
                  :: ignores the fact that this is only the 4th or 5th comment-thread on this post ::

  • Sal

    Trade him for Carl Crawford and maybe some cash lets say 387 million? Or we can just let him get his 12 AB in April and if he hits 1 homerun walks twice be happy. The fact is if he’s the 25th man who cares for the 1st few months of the year. I’m not sure what they are paying him, but if its over the Min, he won’t stick for opening day. lots of waver guys cheap

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      i like sal better than bo and lanny

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        I’m pretty sure this is a different, unrelated Sal.

        • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

          Yeah, there’s more than one correctly-placed apostrophe in there. Can’t be our old friend SBGLGLBGLB…

      • Sal

        Thanks, I’m more worried about Who’s going to replace CC as our #1 starter. After all its clear his career is over after his last start. LMAO

    • bexarama

      somehow I don’t think Marcus Thames is worth $387M to a team. Just a hunch

      • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

        At this point I’m not sure he’s even worth $37.00.

        How’s your leg today?

        • bexarama

          at first I thought this was some weird come-on but then I remembered. It’s fine. The elbow still hurts though. I put some ice on it.

          • bexarama

            thank you for asking. :)

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              at first I thought this was some weird come-on but then I remembered.

              Bexy, if I told you you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?

              • ColoYank

                Uh-oh. Dem’s fightin’ woids!

                Oh, it’s you, tommie. That’s okay.

              • Jack

                If I swore you were an angel would you treat me like the devil tonight?

              • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                Hey buddy, back off.

                Bexy said she loves me:

                http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-802142

                Only because I’m not Youkilis, true, but still…

              • Thomas

                Did hurt your leg on when you fell from heaven?

                • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                  Now THAT smells like a come-on.

                  /I keed, I keed

            • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

              Bexy…if I were to come on to you, believe me, you’d know it! And 10 seconds later, my girlfriend would kick my butt, then kick me out… :-)

              Glad you’re feeling better, even if only half.

          • ColoYank

            Hey, bex,

            You’ve got a solid ring of protective co-commenters here. If anybody makes with the weird come-ons, they are TOAST!

  • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

    What to do with Thames?

    Hope that the team is good enough that we don’t need him for any significant PT, and DFA him if it doesn’t work out. He’s a dime a dozen.

  • YankeesJunkie

    I was really disappointed that Hoffmann was given back so early given Thames who had played so poorly a spot on the roster. Having a guy like Hoffmann early in the season with flexibility might be better to have than a guy that can only hit lefties. Hopefully, Thames plays well against lefties and is able to hold his own on defense, but I am not confident that he will make it to the ASB. However, players like him will come cheaply towards the trade deadline a la a righty version of Hinske.

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    As much as Thames has sucked, if he sucks through the end of May, he’s easily replaceable. I’d be all for Dukes now, but since that’s not an option, all they can do is wait. If he continues to suck, and Dye/Sheffield/Baldelli continue to be available, send him packing.

    • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

      IIRC, Baldelli retired and is working for the Rays now.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Meh, he retired because nobody would offer him a job. If we were really interested, he’d probably be unretired pretty quickly, IMO.

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Yeah. He retired because no one would offer him a job. And because he has a rare mitochondrial disorder that seemingly makes it impossible for him to play regularly. And he has a “shoulder issue”. So, I think the market for ole Rocco is just about dry.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            I agree with all your points.

            Doesn’t change or alter the substance of my post, however, which I still think is correct.

          • bexarama

            Rocco Bal-DL-li

            • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

              Still prefer our old friend Ron-DL White.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        He didn’t retire. He couldn’t find a job playing, so he took one with the Rays. He said he still wants to play and will once the right situation pops up. Which, of course, might never happen.

        Baldelli never officially announced his retirement though.

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Well, a (sic) would be appropriate then.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

            OICWUDT.

        • radnom

          Any indication on how hard it would be for him to break that commitment to the Rays if such an opportunity would arise?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            Not that I’m aware of. I’m sure they wouldn’t stand in his way.

        • thurdonpaul

          Did Bernie officially retire yet ? Iirc he might be available :)

  • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

    I have to wonder what Dye’s price is looking like now. I know he was demanding something in the range of $5M, but it’s clear that market will never materialize. He’s horrific in the outfield, but if we’re looking for a designated lefty masher on the cheap then he might be an option. He has a lifetime .505 SLG and .871 OPS against LHP.

    The price still may be too high, but it’s getting close to April and that dude still is unemployed.

  • Sal

    Ok here is a Question

    Would you be happy if the yankees 5th starter of the next 4 years posted numbers like this

    ERA G GS IP H
    4.05 122 122 792.751

    Or if your 4th starter or 3rd starter posted the same numbers?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      What to do with Marcus Thames
      By Mike Axisa

      • bexarama

        ietc

    • Sal

      If anyone is wondering thats Josh Beckett numbers for 4 years with Boston

      ERA 4.05 G 122 GS 122 IP 792 H 751

      Is he going to be wouth 5 years at 18-Million?

      • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        we’re not wondering. please keep it on topic OR go to the off topic thread

      • YankeesJunkie

        If he pitches well then he will. Those numbers are skewed with his 5.01 ERA in 2005, Beckett has been a solid #2 for the Sox so him getting 15-18 million a year for 4-5 years is very likely.

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        kinda disappointed that nobody went with:

        What to do with Marcus Thames
        By Mike Axisa

        repeated for emphasis.

    • Jack
      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        (golf clap)

        The tinyurl shorthand version (for ease of use)

        http://tinyurl.com/ihaveananswer

        • Jack

          Dammit. I had http://tinyurl.com/CommentNazi , but that is so much better.

          I bow before your awesomeness, sir.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Sucker them in, then go for the coup-de-grace.

          • Sal

            rolling my eyes i thought the topic was baseball

            • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

              You were wrong.

              • Sal

                Well your an A-hole. hard understand that some of you have no life and posting on here is your life. sorry for you! but being that I only have time to post maybe 5 or 10 times in a year I’ll avoid reading your crap for now on

            • Joe D,

              Doesn’t necessary have to be baseball.

              I’ll tell you what I’d like to do with Marcus Thames…Mmmm

  • Joe R

    Thames looks like Betemit in that picture. Performing about the same right now too.

    • Thomas

      For old times sake, name three utility infielders better than Wilson Betemit?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Dylan
        Dylan
        Dylan
        Dylan
        and Dylan

        • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          i spit hot fire

          • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

            too close mon

      • KayGee

        Me, you, and Joe R

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Fun Facts:
          Per-season WAR average (WAR totals from http://www.baseballprojection.com)

          Wilson Betemit: 0.15 WAR/S
          Luis Sojo: 0.13 WAR/S

      • Joe R

        miguel cairo, omar vizquel, ramiro pena

  • A.D.

    Have a feeling that Thames may be Ensberg-like in terms of production & time with team this year.

    • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

      I’m looking forward to Thames’ blog, then…

      http://morganensberg.wordpress.com/ (safe)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        (pauses)

        I… have no idea what to make of that blog.

        • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

          You hadn’t seen that?

          I thought it was pretty cool, actually. He at least tries to embrace Sabermetrics, even if he’s too goofy to get far.

          • A.D.

            I wasn’t completely sure if he was embracing it, or making fun of it, I was definitely confused over that.

            • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

              No, he’s trying to take it seriously.

              And failing a bit, because he’s, you know, Morgan Ensberg.

        • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

          I particularly liked this post:

          http://morganensberg.wordpress.....rong-spot/

          where he blames poor dugout sightlines for leading up to the Pujols-destroys-Lidge moent.

          • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

            Damn typo.

            *moment

  • RobertGKramer

    I see NRI David Winfree is quietly batting .600 against lefties and is still in camp. He’s 24 and out of the Minnesota system where he likely had good teachers. If Thames can’t get the bat working tonight or tomorrow he could be toast!

  • Flippa

    thames won’t be on the roster come June

  • Chris

    Thames has been so dreadful it seems unfair to reward him when guys like Winfree and Weber (who is batting like .565) have earned a spot.
    There was talk of trading someone (Mitre? to keep a second LH in the pen) to get Hoffmann back, but it also seems odd to trade for a guy like Hoffmann twice.
    I hadn’t thought about Dye, but if he’s willing to be a bench guy I kind of like that.

  • Bill R

    I guess he must of read your post mike because he hit a bomb today!