The Milwaukee Brewers face an issue with Eric Thames staying on their roster for 2019. It would make more sense if they could trade him.
Eric Thames is due $6 million for 2019 and has a $1 million buyout on his contract option for 2020. He’s also going to sit on the Milwaukee Brewers bench for most of 2019. For the payroll-conscious Brewers, moving Thames has to be on the table.
One place that he could possibly go is to the Miami Marlins. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) brought up in his latest notes column that Thames could be a fit for the Marlins.
Why Are The Marlins A Fit?
According to Rosenthal, the Marlins are seeking a left-handed bat to add to their lineup. Their current crop of lefty hitters includes J.T. Riddle, and that’s it. And Riddle’s mostly just a platoon option.
Also, the Marlins currently have Peter O’Brien penciled in as their starting first baseman, and Thames would certainly provide an upgrade over O’Brien.
There’s another reason why the Marlins and Brewers could match up on a trade centered on Eric Thames. The Marlins possess a second baseman who only has one more guaranteed year on his contract, and his name is Starlin Castro.
The former Cub, turned Yankee, and now Marlin posted a .278/.329/.400 slash line last year in Miami with 12 home runs. During his two years in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, Castro posted a .283 average with 37 total home runs.
A return to a hitter-friendly ballpark could give Castro another boost in his numbers, and he’d be a quality stopgap in 2019 until Keston Hiura is ready.
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Castro has one year remaining on his contract, and he’s owed $11.857 million in 2019, and he has a $1 million buyout on his $16 million club option for 2020.
Could A Thames-Castro Trade Work?
Even though Castro is due more money than Thames in 2019, a trade like this would kill two birds with one stone. It removes the depth issue at first base where Thames would be mostly dead weight, and solves the second base problem.
And when Thames salary is subtracted in the swap, it’s really only a $5.857 million addition to the payroll, which is about the salary the Milwaukee Brewers would have to pay someone like Asdrubal Cabrera to come in as a free agent.
The real question is, would the Marlins accept a straight up swap of Thames for Castro? The answer to that is likely a “no”.
The Brewers would probably have to throw in a low-level prospect or two for the Marlins to bite on the offer. The Marlins are rebuilding and need more players in their minor league system.
A trade like this could work between the two teams. The Milwaukee Brewers would be dealing from a position of strength to add at a position of weakness, at least at the time being.
With the Marlins needing a left handed bat, they could call on Thames and see if a deal could be worked out. They’re also likely still penny-pinching on payroll this season, and a trade like this gives them another few million dollars in savings.
While the Milwaukee Brewers pride themselves on depth, keeping Thames at the salary he’s owed seems foolish. If they can trade him, they should.
Moving Thames is not going to be easy coming off the season he had, but that’s why he should go to a non-contending club where he could possibly bounce back.