No need for arbitration between the Detroit Tigers and outfielder Marcus Thames, as the two sides agreed on a one-year contract today for $1.25 million. That leaves Miguel Cabrera and Bobby Seay as the two remaining Tigers eligible for arbitration.
Last year, Thames hit .242/.278/.498 with 18 home runs and 54 RBI. He mostly bounced between left field and first base, but could never quite get entrenched at either position. To my untrained eye, I thought Thames showed a pretty good glove at first base - especially considering he'd never played the position before. Despite his limited defensive range, we know Thames can bring the thunder with his bat, which makes him extremely popular among the fans. (From what I've heard and read, Thames received some of the biggest cheers during the Winter Caravan this week.)
But with Carlos Guillen now a full-time first baseman, Thames figures to split time with Jacque Jones in left field, while helping out occasionally in right field and designated hitter. Facing mostly left-handed pitching should be a good role for Thames, as he hit .310/.341/.586 in such match-ups.
Thames' deal also includes a $25,000 bonus for 500 plate appearances. Given that he's averaged approximately 225 with the Tigers and will see fewer at-bats as a lefty platoon, Thames will probably never see that money.