Eric Thames played 181 games in the big leagues in 2011 and 2012, splitting time between Toronto and Seattle. He came and went without much fuss. Then, on December 9, 2013, Thames signed with the NC Dinos of the Korean KBO League.
In his first season in Korea, Thames batted .343, with 37 home runs and 121 RBIs. The next year, Thames became the first player in KBO history to hit for the cycle twice in one year and to join the 40-40 club, hitting 47 homers and stealing 40 bases, and adding 140 RBIs in 142 games. This year, he finished with 40 home runs, and 118 RBIs.
During his three seasons in Korea, Thames hit 124 home runs, drove in 379 runs, stole 64 bases, and batted .348. He was also the KBO league MVP and the Golden Glove award winner for first basemen for the 2015 campaign.
The Milwaukee Brewers signed Thames to a contract on Tuesday worth $16M over three seasons, with a 4th-year option including a $1M buyout. Following the signing, the Brewers designated former first baseman Chris Carter for assignment.
Even with his success in the KBO, Thames will remain a question mark for the Brew Crew, as it is simply a different game than the majors in America and players’ talent has not always translated from there to here.
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