Milwaukee Brewers: The Top 10 David Stearns Transactions
6. Eric Thames
Acquired via Free Agency from Korea (November 2016)
The signing of Eric Thames after 3 years in Korea came basically out of nowhere. There were not a lot of rumors tying him to the Brewers. Outside of Cecil Fielder, there also have not been too many success stories of power hitters finding their stroke overseas to mash in the majors. At the time, his 3-year contract worth $16 million seemed a bit steep if you just look at his past credentials in Toronto and Seattle. He had cartoon numbers in Korea, but would they translate?
Thames was signed to replace Chris Carter, who hit 41 home runs in his lone season for Milwaukee. There were many fans wondering why David Stearns would not just sign the proven hitter in Carter. This is another decision the Brewers GM got right.
So far in his season and a half, Thames has already bashed 44 long balls. He burst onto the scene quickly in 2017, before battling inconsistency. In 2018 he has been a bit more consistent, but he missed a month due to injury and subsequently has lost a bit of playing time to Jesus Aguilar.
Overall, Thames has been a huge part of the team since signing. He does not hit for a high average, but his OBP has always been strong due to his eye at the plate. Thames has also been versatile enough to return to the outfield with the emergence of Aguilar and continues to bring an effervescent personality to the clubhouse.