With the Washington Nationals sitting on their hands at the trade deadline, a hot Eric Thames would be as valuable as if they’d have acquired a bat.
As the trade deadline came and went, a flurry of trades were reported to the league office. One team who was not involved in anything was the Washington Nationals. They weren’t buyers, they weren’t sellers, they were stagnant. Even though Eric Thames has been on the roster since the beginning of the year, if he were to start producing, he’d feel like the big bat the Nats acquired at the trade deadline.
In the days leading up to the deadline Mike Rizzo went public with the notion the Nationals were going to be buyers all the way. After losing four of five prior to deadline day, some speculated (including me) the Nationals would shift directions and sell.
They chose to do neither.
The weaknesses on this team outweigh the strengths. However, hitting is not one of those weaknesses. The Nationals boast the best two hitters in the National League right now as far as batting average is concerned.
Were Eric Thames to start hitting, maybe this would help the team score more runs than their pitchers give up on a daily basis.
Thames has never been one to hit for average, though he usually hits for power and draws a good amount of walks. This year he has six extra base hits total, and is walking less frequently than in the past.
With the season half over, the sample size is there to pick apart the splits. Thames is hitting .189 with runners on base, .071 in games considered “late and close”, and .077 in in high leverage situations. He just hasn’t gotten the job done all year.
No, having Eric Thames get hot won’t be the starting pitching help the team needs, or the correction to fundamentals the team lacks. Would be nice to see this $4M investment pay off though.