Eric Thames, now 30 years old, is back in the major leagues with the Brewers after spending the last three years in the Korea Baseball Organization. There, he became a feared slugger, hitting 147 home runs and driving in 382 runs in his trio of seasons with the NC Dinos.
After washing out of the majors with two mediocre seasons with the Blue Jays and Mariners in 2011-12, Thames was able to use his breakout performance in Korea to secure a three-year, $16 million contract with the Brewers. If there was any doubt about his power, Thames has put that to bed in the opening series. He hit a two-run double on Opening Day. Then, on Wednesday evening against the Rockies, Thames crushed a solo home run to right-center off of Tyler Chatwood, breaking a scoreless tie.
The home run marked Thames’ first major league home run since September 23, 2012 when, as a Mariner, he took Rangers’ pitcher Ryan Dempster deep.
The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.
The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.
Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.
Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.