Detroit Tigers' Hot Stove: Marcus Thames

Dave HamptonCorrespondent INovember 6, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 01:  Marcus Thames #33 of the Detroit Tigers looks on after losing to the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on July 1, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The World Series has wrapped up, and it has gotten chilly in the Midwest.

While some of the Tigers are home in the tropics or enjoying 18 holes in Florida, The Hammer Toss will keep you warm with the hot stove.  

Marcus Thames is a favorite for discussion here at The Hammer Toss because he could have such a big impact on the Tigers' offense, if given enough at-bats.

2009 Season Recap

Thames went on the disabled list in mid April with a cartilage strain in his ribcage. He missed about seven weeks before returning in June.

Thames started 17 games in left field and had a few innings at first base. He got most of his 258 at-bats by being the DH. He hit only 13 home runs this year and drove in 36.

On par with his career averages, he got as many hits as strikeouts and had a meager batting average (.252).

Looking Forward

Thames was on a one-year contract for 2009. There has been talk around the Tigers' community of not offering him arbitration for 2010, and therefore no contract, thus non-tendering him.

Keeping Thames is actually not a hard decision to make. He will only cost about $2.5 million, is a delightful clubhouse presence, and, when inserted into the lineup, will bash home runs.  

Is he a liability in the field? Yes, but that is why he sees a lot of game action as a DH and only an occasional spell in the outfield.

Is he undisciplined at the plate? Yes, a lot of home run hitters are. One of the simpler truths in baseball, despite a few exceptions, is that guys who can rake are usually guys who strike out. 

Does anyone really complain about Ryan Howard when he is crushing 45 home runs per year for Philadelphia?

That's right, ladies and gents, I just lumped Thames in with the likes of Howard. Since 2006 Howard has averaged one home run per every 11.8 at-bats, while Thames has averaged one per every 14.5 at-bats. 

Both are fairly astonishing numbers and among the best in the league. 

The bottom line is, if the Tigers let him go, someone else could potentially pick him up for a steal, give him 550 at-bats, and watch him clout 38 home runs. 

This is exactly what the budget-conscious Tigers should be doing, instead of considering letting another team do it and laugh at us too.

A lot of people claim the Tigers' offense has no punch. Is letting Thames walk really a solution?

This and many other burning topics are going to warm up your world as the hot stove lights on fire! Stay tuned to The Hammer Toss.