Unfortunately the 2020 season didn’t go as Eric Thames (or the Washington Nationals) had planned. As the slugger signs in Japan he hopes to regain his power stroke.
In a perfect world Eric Thames would have split time with Ryan Zimmerman at first base during the 2020 season and hit twenty-plus home runs. In the pandemic world, neither of those things happened.
When the Washington Nationals signed Eric Thames to a free agent contract prior to last season, I was very ecstatic. Thames is a beast of a man, who after putting up great numbers in Korea, had three solid power seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. Sure, he struck out too often, and didn’t hit for the best average, but all power hitters do that. I was poised to look the other way on the strikeout totals in exchange for the mammoth home runs Thames was going to it.
Regrettebly, this never happened.
Thames struggled mightily all year and finished his lone season with the Nationals with a .203 batting average and just three home runs.
The Nationals declined his $4M option after the season and Thames entered free agency.
In a slow moving American market, Thames was compelled to take his talents abroad by signing a contract to continue playing baseball overseas. Thames has signed with the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, in Japan.
Thames is now 34 years old and may have played his last baseball in the States. I hope this is not the case and trust he can right the ship with his power stroke while playing for Yomiuri.
Regardless of whether he plays in America again or not, Thames is too nice of guy to watch struggle the way he did while he was playing in Washington. The entire year was a battle for Thames, who finished the year in a 1-16 slump. Here’s hoping a move to Japan will cure what ails him.
Best of luck in your new home, Eric.