Brewers Decline Eric Thames’ 2020 Club Option, Seek Lower Salary
The Milwaukee Brewers had their club option decisions due today, and they have made their decisions.
The day started off with the news that Chase Anderson, who had a 2020 club option worth $8.5 million, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league first baseman Chad Spanberger. The Brewers decided to pick up Manny Pina‘s club option, and the only player left was Thames.
We dove into this topic a few weeks ago about what the Milwaukee Brewers should do with Eric Thames, which you can read here.
We thought the best course of action would be to bring Thames back and simply pick up his option, rather than gamble with losing him in free agency while trying to save a few million dollars. But Brewers GM David Stearns is feeling good about his cards and is running the risk.
The Crew decided to decline Thames’ option, thus making him a free agent and any team is able to talk to him.
Will They Try To Re-Sign Thames?
In all likelihood, the Brewers will make an attempt to bring back Thames. They just felt he wasn’t worth the $7.5 million salary he would’ve had. They’ll look to bring him back probably more in the $4-5 million range.
While he had a nice bounceback 2019 season, he wasn’t good enough all the way through the season for the team to feel comfortable paying him that much with other players needing raises and trying to sign other free agents.
Both sides have a good relationship with each other, and should be able to agree to another deal. But if another team comes in and blows Thames away with an offer, and puts up something the Brewers can’t or won’t match, then he’ll likely leave.
What Is The Plan At First Base?
A lot of people’s minds immediately went to putting Ryan Braun over at first base in the final guaranteed year of his deal. That’s very much a possibility.
Is depending on Ryan Braun as the full-time first baseman a good idea, though? Eh, it’s debatable. His partial time he spent there in 2018 spanning just 18 games saw him post a -1 DRS, so he’ll still need a lot of work there defensively.
Plus, with Braun’s constant back injuries, having to bend over as much as one does when playing the infield probably also isn’t the best for his health. If he misses time with an injury, what do they do at first base then?
The current plan, it seems to be, is to try to re-sign Thames to a slightly lower salary and have him return as the main first baseman in 2020. Otherwise, they’ll be looking for a free agent addition at the position. Outside of Jose Abreu, who is likely to stay with the White Sox, pretty much all of the free agent first basemen are downgrades from Thames.
Hopefully the Brewers can re-sign their fan-favorite first baseman. He’s come up in big moments and is a steady presence.