The Jays’ big position battle this spring was Eric Thames versus Travis Snider for left field. Thames was handed the job, but eventually both ended up back in the minors. Now both are out of the organization entirely, having been traded within a half hour of each other tonight.
Thames was sent to Seattle for reliever Steve Delabar, the teams announced after playing tonight. Delabar, at least, won’t have far to travel; he merely needs to switch clubhouses at Safeco. Thames, presumably, will be called by the Mariners in short order. The 25-year-old was hitting .335/.412/.536 with six homers in 194 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas.
It’s unlikely that the left-handed-hitting Thames will prove to be a building block for the Mariners. He has decent enough power, but his on-base skills are lacking and he’s a bit of a liability defensively in the outfield. If the Mariners had their pick of Thames and Snider, it’s a good bet they would have chosen Snider instead. Thames could stick as a platoon player, though. He’ll almost certainly be an upgrade from Carlos Peguero there.
Delabar, 29, had a 4.17 ERA in 36 2/3 innings out of the pen for Seattle this season. He lacks an outpitch to go along with his 92-95 mph fastball and probably won’t survive as more than a middle reliever as a result. With more athletic outfielders available in Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis, it seems the Jays simply felt it was time to move on from both Snider and Thames. Of the two, Snider is the more likely to make them regret it.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.