Eric Thames homered in the majors for the first time in nearly five years

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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.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.