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New York Yankees: Marcus Thames Back in the Mix, Who Gets Put on Notice?

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Marcus Thames #38 of the New York Yankees reacts after he struck out in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2011

Well, either my Bleacher Report colleague Doug Rush has a direct line to Brian Cashman, Brian Cashman is an avid reader of B/R or—dare I say it—Doug is Brian Cashman in disguise.

Wednesday, Doug suggested that the Yankees sign 34-year-old OF Marcus Thames, recently released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Today, George King III of the New York Post notes in passing that the Yankees have signed Thames to a minor league contract.

Thames, who hit an anemic .197 in limited playing time for former Yankee and current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, is en route to the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, where he will spend a few days before joining the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

Coming off the Yankees bench for the majority of the 2010 season, Thames had much better success, hitting .288 with 12 HR and 33 RBI.

As Thames is on a minor league contract, no roster move needs to be made immediately.

If he shows that he simply has nothing left, which I believe may be the case, then the Yankees can let him walk into the sunset, knowing that they at least tried to catch lightning in a bottle a second year in the row.

If he shows that his time in Los Angeles was an aberration—that in fact he still can be a contributor to a major league team—then the Yankees will be faced with a decision.

Do they designate the underwhelming Andruw Jones for assignment to make room for Thames on the roster?

One thing Jones has over Thames is that defensively, Jones is far and away the superior player. Marcus Thames should never see the outfield grass at Yankee Stadium except from the bench or while he is on base.

Is Marcus Thames or Andruw Jones going to be a major contributor to the Yankees march towards another AL East pennant? 

No.

Is Marcus Thames or Andruw Jones going to come to the plate with a game on the line at some point between now and the end of the season?

Absolutely.

Sooner or later, Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman will have to make a choice—do they take the red pill or the blue pill?

With no clear-cut correct answer, here's hoping that they choose wisely.

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