Published: Fri, December 02, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Brewers sign Eric Thames, designate slugging 1B Chris Carter

"At times, there were games and segments of the season where we struggled without a left-handed presence". But there are a few downsides to retaining Carter for another season. Carter batted only.222 with a.321 OBP but led the Brewers with 94 RBI.

The Milwaukee Brewers have found a replacement for slugger Chris Carter, signing free agent Eric Thames to a three-year deal with a club option for 2020, the team announced Tuesday. In his first season with Milwaukee, he made a loud entrance.

The Brewers have scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference on the signing. We have a long history of him as a player. So what can we expect from our local nine's new first baseman?

Thames was originally a seventh-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2008 draft.

Thames said he became more disciplined at the plate during his stint in Korea. He hit.250 with 21 home runs, 62 RBI, 84 runs and three stolen bases in 633 at-bats with Toronto and Seattle in 2011 and 2012. He even captured the KBO's version of the Gold Glove at first base in 2015. He is eligible for attribution now, and that is where Thames comes in.

While he can hit home runs with the best of them, Carter isn't necessarily the most well-rounded player. During the 2015 season, he batted.381 while smashing 47 bombs and 140 RBI with 40 stolen bases and won the KBO MVP award. We've started seeing an influx of talent coming over from Korea in recent seasons, with some players more successful than others. Jung Ho Kang, the crown jewel of transplants, is an.800 OPS anchor in the Pittsburgh Pirates' order.

While that level of productions would be outstanding to see from Thames, it's hardly what we should expect.

This could be a change that the Brewers were in need of.

Overall, it appears that a batting line in the range of.240/.320/.470 with 20+ home runs would be a reasonable expectation for Thames going forward.

Thames signed for $4 million in 2017, $5 million in '18 and $6 million in '19. Milwaukee has a $7.5 million option for 2019 with a $1 million buyout. Thames also provides a left-handed bat to a lineup that was heavy on right-handers last season. The move is a challenging one to begin with but the nuances of the Korean game - heavy on bunting and pure hitting - compared to the power style of Major League Baseball made the challenge even greater. The upside, however, could be quite high for Milwaukee. He has only a.314 lifetime on-base percentage to go along with his.218 career batting average. Given all of that, it's hard not to conclude that this deal was an excellent gamble by the Brewers' front office.

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