Tag: Marcus Thames

Los Angeles Dodgers: A Look at Marcus Thames and the Blue Crew Outfield

With their most recent acquisition of outfielder Marcus Thames, the Los Angeles Dodgers not only achieved an addition of power to the roster, but they also balanced the bats in the process. Thames will join a solid corps of outfielders who individually feature power, speed, and reliable defense.

Some fans across Dodgertown have very high hopes for 2011, yet many factors will come into play that determine the level of success during the upcoming campaign. Team chemistry, attitude, and coaching are just several aspects of the game which need polished in order for the Dodgers to be contenders.

Other fans are focusing their attention on the long haul, and based on the high level of talent on the farm, envision a bright future for the Boys in Blue during the years to come.

The outfield is just one of several areas that’s packed full of potential—both from the veterans and the future stars. Spring training will play a large role in determining who plays where and which players see the bulk of action this season. Depending on injuries and the level of production from certain players, a number of new faces may be making their Dodger debuts.

In no particular order, the following slides showcase the top 10 outfielders in the entire Los Angeles Dodgers organization and offer a bit of commentary on each player. Also included is a special bonus slide which features an additional 10 players in the system who range from Single-A farmhands up to several outfielders who have numerous years of MLB experience.

Begin Slideshow

Los Angeles Dodgers Sign Marcus Thames

Back on December 22nd, I wrote a post wondering who’s going to be in left field for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011.

Here is how I ended the post:

“I am going to venture to say the Dodgers sign Thames to play left against left-handed pitching and they will platoon him with Gibbons. Not the best combination in the world, but maybe the best of what the Dodgers have to work with.”

Truth be told and almost one month later, the Dodgers have indeed signed Marcus Thames.

Thames played last season with the New York Yankees and hit .288/.350/.491 with 12 HRs in 237 plate appearances. Thames was, once again, solid against left-handed pitching as he hit .300/.352/.454 against lefties.

Look for Thames to platoon with Jay Gibbons in left in 2011.


You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Right-Handed Bat Need Should Be Solved by Marcus Thames

I’m about to do something unheard of in sports journalism.  I am going to write an entire article about Marcus Thames.  Yes, that Marcus Thames, the 33-year-old outfielder who hit .288 with 12 HR for the Yankees last year.  The one the Yankees haven’t re-signed.

Why am I writing about Thames?  Because he would be the perfect addition to the cash strapped Phillies roster.  We all know the Phillies lineup is too left-handed heavy.  We all know they need a right-handed bat that can platoon a little bit in the outfield and provide depth.

Why not Marcus Thames, a guy who has made a career of killing left handed pitching?  Thames has hit more than 25 HR twice in his career and is known as a left-handed specialist. 

He has limitations in the field, which hurt his value, but that would not be a huge deal for the Phillies.  If you platoon him in left field with Ibanez, I can’t imagine you are losing much defensively going from Ibanez to Thames.  You can also take him out late in games for defensive replacements if need be.

I know what you are thinking, this guy is way too excited about signing a journeyman outfielder.  Maybe so, but let me ask you, is there anyone else on the market that makes more sense than Thames? 

His strength, hitting left-handed pitching, is exactly what the Phillies need.  His contract will be in the Phillies’ range.  He has power, which will come out big time at the band box that is Citizens Bank Park.  His defense can’t possibly be worse than Raul Ibanez’s, so there won’t be much of a loss there.

How many other guys who have hit 25+ HRs twice in the last few years are available for so little money?  Not many.  I am here to tell you the Phillies should sign Thames because it makes too much sense not to.  You don’t have to give up anything to get him and he doesn’t demand a lot of salary.

Sounds like the perfect solution to me.

So please Phillies, make it happen. Thames in Phillies red in 2011!

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2011 New York Yankees: Almost Time To Go on Offseason Shopping Spree

Not repeating and no longer reigning as champions was not the game plan the New York Yankees had at the start of the 2010 season.

Losing the ALCS to the Texas Rangers was heartbreaking. The Bombers elimination seemed almost unreal, as the Yankees were the stronger ball-club all season long.

The blame-game is in full swing in New York, pointing fingers at Skipper Joe Girardi for his managerial calls and GM Brian Cashman not facing a team of over-the-hill players in time.

Yankees Universe is spoiled and winning it all is the only mark of achievement. Any outcome otherwise is considered a failed season, but this rigid motto is what players sign up for the moment they put on the pinstripes. Call it whatever you want, but it has led the franchise to the most elite status in sports.

What needs to happen in the offseason to get the Yankees back on top in 2011?

Here are the five I want to see happen:

1) Go get Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee is sure be on the top of Cashman’s list.

Lee just bombed his first World Series start and if he repeats a piss poor, performance maybe he could come cheaper. Not by that much, but Lee is 33 and has had back problems in the past. Regardless, Lee went from a want to a necessity today after hearing some startling news from the Yankees.

First, ace CC Sabathia has to have knee surgery later this week for a small meniscus tear in his right knee; while not serious, it is not comforting news at all. CC is physically enormous standing at 6’7″, weighing 309 lbs and at 30-years-old, which is implementing some serious stress on his body. CC threw 3,903 pitches in 2010, not including spring training. This was a concern when the Yankees signed Sabathia, as the odds were all stacked against him being able to avoid injuries like this one down the road. Finally, Yankees fans got a concrete clarification behind Sabathia’s why postseason struggles just came out of left field. Sabathia waved his option to remain for the rest of his five years in pinstripes.

Secondly, Girardi came clean as to the reason he switched Hughes and Pettitte in the rotation for the ALCS. Everyone was quick to blame the Yankees skipper for another horrible stat-based decision. Then today, the news broke that Pettitte felt off during his final start against the Twins in the ALDS. Smartly, Girardi played it extra cautious by switching him and Hughes to give Pettitte and extra two days off.

Add the above to AJ Burnett’s mental state and Phil Hughes inexperience making the rotation too risky. Get Cliff Lee and all will be ideal again.

2) Renegotiate reliever Kerry Wood’s contract and sign him on for two more years. Wood was a huge reason the Yankees won games in the second half of the season. Wood still throws heat form the mound, has a dominating presence and his experience eludes his confidence. I believe Wood is an inspiration and mentor for Joba Chamberlain, who significantly improved once Wood arrives. Also, god forbid Mariano Rivera becomes mortal, but at 41-years-old, it is going to happen. Wood can help the transition go smoothly from the baseball side during this unthinkable time.

3) Grab a position player that has proven his merit already, but do not spend the money on Tampa Bay Rays Carl Crawford. Crawford will be a fortune to acquire and with all the money going out to resign Jeter, Rivera, Girardi and hopefully Lee the Yankees can go cheaper. Crawford’s personality is something of concern because he can be quite immature at times and not always a team player. Crawford’s hard work after the 2009 season was not for the Rays, but for his pending free agency contract. Obviously any player wants to do his best to get the most money, but you can still be a team player at the same time. New York City will swallow Crawford with the instant celebrity status, which Rays players do not receive in Tampa Bay.

Philadelphia Phillies Jayson Werth would be perfect in pinstripes, but beware of his recent hiring of agent Scott Boras who might shop Werth with too big a price tag. Werth is older, so he will come cheaper than Crawford without a doubt, plus Phillies players are icons at home so he is used to all the craziness. Boras will go right to Cashman and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, as he knows how to drive up the price. Still, even if money wasn’t an object, I truly believe that Werth is a better fit for the Yankees.

4) What about keeping Marcus Thames? Thames could mainly be a DH because Jorge Posada will catch some games next season, despite all the hype that he is finished. Posada hits better when he catches, and Thames has been a productive DH right off the bench. Also, Thames can play in the outfield to give guys some more days off to help avoid pre-postseason injuries. For the 2010 regular season, Thames hit 12 home runs (nine as a DH) and 33 RBIs (24 as a DH) in 212 at-bats. In the postseason, Thames hit in clutch situations, hitting .364 in his first 12 at-bats, with one home run, three RBIs and striking out just once. Thames is great in the clubhouse, has the right attitude and works so hard just to help anyway he is asked. Thames should stay in pinstripes for 2011.

5) Hopefully Cashman won’t trade away catching prospect Jesus Montero for some over-the-hill all-star, whose name is big, but skills are good for maybe a half-a-season. Yankees fans have been drooling over Montero for two seasons, just waiting to see if the budding star is the real deal.

The same excitement swirled around outfielder Austin Jackson for even longer, but before he made it to the Bronx, Jackson was the main player in the trade for now Yankees Curtis Granderson. Granderson has been excellent in the second half and overall a solid person, so things worked out in the end. Still, the Tigers had a phenomenal, young outfielder whose athletics expand beyond the baseball field. Jackson was offered scholarships to play Division 1 basketball at Top 10 colleges. Jackson is in contention for the AL Rookie of the Year so stay tuned to see if he wins it.

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New York Yankees-Minneosta Twins ALDS: Phil Hughes Guides Yankees Back To ALCS

Going into Saturday night’s Game Three, the Yankees had to be feeling very confident of their chances to sweep the Twins.

They were up 2-0 on the Twins and they had history on their side since Minnesota had not won a playoff game against the Yankees since 2004.

Now back in the Bronx at the new Yankee Stadium, the Yankees were sending up Phil Hughes to pitch Game Three. This would be the first time Hughes was making a start in the postseason for the Yankees, although he has pitched in relief for them in the past. Going up for Minnesota was left-hander Brian Duensing, looking to keep the Twins’ playoff hopes and season alive.

All it took was the second inning to realize Minnesota’s season and their chances of staying alive were all but done, because the Yankees had total control of this game from start to finish.

In the bottom of the second, Robinson Cano led off the inning by hitting the ball over Denard Span’s head in center and got a lead-off triple.

One batter later, Jorge Posada drove in Cano for an RBI single and the Yankees were quickly on the board 1-0.

In the bottom of the third, Nick Swisher crushed a two-out double to right center and Mark Teixeira drove him in with an RBI single to make it 2-0.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, after Cano got an infield single, Marcus Thames crushed a Duensing fastball to right field for a two-run home run and the Yankees were now ahead 4-0.

As the Yankees were scoring runs, the Twins were being left off the scoreboard by Hughes as he was just mauling the hitters at the plate.

After Matt Guerrier relieved Duensing, the Yankees continued to add onto their lead.

Curtis Granderson walked, then stole second with Brett Gardner batting and then was able to get to third on Joe Mauer’s error and Gardner drove him in with a sac fly to left and it was now 5-0.

Hughes finished his final inning of work in the seventh as he polished off Delmon Young, Jim Thome and Michael Cuddyer.

Hughes pitched seven great innings, allowed four hits, no runs, walked one and struck out six. In his first playoff performance, he pitched a gem, which is exactly what the Yankees needed.

In the bottom of the seventh, Nick Swisher hit a solo home run to right field to add onto the Yankee lead as it was 6-0 now.

After Hughes, Kerry Wood came in and did struggle in the eighth inning. Danny Valencia led off with a double and Denard Span hit a single, setting up first and third with only one out.

Orlando Hudson singled up the middle to make the game 6-1. After Joe Mauer walked to load the bases, Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulled Wood and put in Boone Logan.

Logan was able to get Kubel to pop out in the infield for the second out and Young flied out to center for the third out and the Yankees were able to shut down any attempt for a Twins rally.

In the top of the ninth, despite it not being a save situation, Mariano Rivera came into the ninth looking to close out the ALDS and end the Twins’ season.

Rivera got Thome to strike out for the first out, Cuddyer to fly out to right for the second out and Valencia to fly out for the final third out and just like that, the Twins season was over.

The Yankees win Game 3 6-1 and sweep the Twins 3-0 right out of the ALDS.

Hughes picked up the win for the Yankees, while Duensing took the loss.

In the series, the Yankees hit better than the Twins, pitched better than the Twins and overall, were just a better team than Minnesota. The Twins looked lost, couldn’t get big hits when needed and were over-matched.

Most of the Yankees lineup had a pretty good series. Granderson may have stood out the most as he hit .455 against the Twins.

The Yankees now advance to the American League Championship Series and will await the winner of the Rays-Rangers series, where currently, the Rangers have a 2-1 lead going into Sunday.

So far, so good for the Yankees.

Three down, eight to go until No. 28 for Yankees Universe.

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Fantasy Baseball Free Agent Pool: 2010 RBI Guys, Vol. 10

Are you hurting in the RBI category? Here are some reasonably available players that can help you out.


Brandon Inge, 3B, Detroit Tigers

 Inge has 10 RBIs over the past 15 days while hitting .218 with four runs, two HRs, and a SB. On the year he’s hitting .254 with 37 runs, 10 HRs, 61 RBIs, and three SBs. Brandon is owned in 20 percent of CBS and five percent of ESPN leagues. 


Danny Espinosa, SS, Washington Nationals

Espinosa has 10 RBIs in 22 ABs while hitting .409 with four runs and three HRs. He’s owned in 18 percent of CBS and seven percent of ESPN leagues. 


Ivan Rodriguez, C, Washington Nationals

Rodriguez has nine RBIs in the past 15 days while hitting .285 with five runs and a HR. On the year he’s hitting .270 with 29 runs, three HRs, 44 RBIs, and two SBs. Pudge is owned in 31 percent of CBS and 13 percent of ESPN leagues. 


Marcus Thames, OF, New York Yankees

Thames has nine RBIs over the past 15 days while hitting .257 with six runs and five HRs. On the year he’s hitting .306 with 20 runs, 11 HRs, and 30 RBIs in 173 ABs. Marcus is owned in 16 percent of ESPN and 14 percent of CBS leagues. 


Jonny Gomes, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Gomes has nine RBIs over the past 15 days while hitting .250 with four runs and two HRs. On the year he’s hitting .261 with 64 runs, 16 HRs, 77 RBIs, and three SBs. Jonny is owned in about 40 percent of all CBS and ESPN leagues. 


J.J. Hardy, SS, Minnesota Twins

Hardy has nine RBIs in the past 15 days while hitting .314 with seven runs and a HR. On the year he’s hitting .266 with 39 runs, six HRs, 35 RBIs, and one SB in 293 ABs. J.J. is owned in 34 percent of CBS and 27 percent of ESPN leagues.

Originally published at LestersLegends.com.

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Let the Good Times Roll: Yankees Win Eighth Straight, Hottest Team in the Majors

The Yankees won their eighth consecutive game today against the Toronto Blue Jays, and are the hottest team in baseball as the stretch run begins.

Javy Vazquez was less than stellar in his return to the starting rotation today, giving up five runs in four and two thirds innings pitched, the Blue Jays also slugged two home runs.

The bullpen came in and bridged the gap to Mariano Rivera, and as usual, the sandman finished it off. Mo also lowered his ERA to 1.06, which would be a career low if it holds up through the end of the season, pretty amazing for a 40 year old pitcher.

The Yankees offense continued their hot hitting, driving in seven runs on the strength of nine hits.

Robinson Cano and Francisco Cervelli each had multi-hit games, and Brett Gardner was on base three times hitting out of the lead-off spot.

But it was Marcus Thames who delivered the big blow in the seventh inning, a two run shot to left-center field, breaking a 5-5 tie and putting the Yanks on top 7-5.

With the win the Yanks move to 86-50 on the season, which is their high water mark for the year, and their eight game winning streak is the longest this year as well.

The win is also significant because the Red Sox lost the first game of a double header with the White Sox today, making them nine and a half games out of first, and possibly putting the nails into the coffin on Boston’s season.

Meanwhile the Yanks extend their lead over the Rays as well, pushing them two games out of first currently, but they still play tonight at Baltimore.

Even more good news for the Bronx Bombers today, as Andy Pettitte threw 50 pitches in a simulated game without aggravating his groin injury. Alex Rodriguez took part in that simulated game and collected two hits, and didn’t experience any setbacks either, he will likely be activated tomorrow.

So with reinforcements on the way, and the Yankees performing so well, they have to be considered not only the hottest team in the Majors, but the best team in baseball as the playoffs draw closer with each passing day.




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New York Yankees’ Offense Keeps Rolling 11-5 Over Oakland

Marcus Thames hit his sixth home run in as many games as the Yankees slugged their way past the Oakland A’s 11-5.

Here are some notes:

  • Mark Teixeira returned to the lineup and hit a third inning home run that put the Yankees ahead 4-3.
  • Dustin Moseley started and did not have his best stuff. He lasted just 4.1 innings, allowed four runs and walked four.
  • Javier Vazquez came on in relief and pitched as well as he’s pitched all season. His fastball looked good, often clocking in at 91 mph, right where he needs to be to be effective.
  • Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher both went 3-for-4, driving in three runs. Cano homered.
  • Trevor Cahill allowed eight earned runs, a career-high. So much for his Cy Young candidacy.
  • The Rays beat the Blue Jays tonight so the teams remain tied for first place.
  • The Red Sox had the night off and move to seven games back.

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New York Yankee’s Latest Hero: Marcus Thames

New York Yankees Marcus Thames has been the talk of the town lately—and for good reason.

Thames has come up big for the Yankees as he led the team in victory over the Texas Rangers Cliff Lee, this past Wednesday night.

The switch-hitter went 3-5 with two hits, a homer, and two RBI. Thames had the game-winning single in the top of the ninth inning that put the Yankees on top.

In 2001, Thames caught the Yankees attention after being named to the Baseball America minor leagues All-Star team after hitting .321, with 97 RBI and 31 homers in AA.

Thames started his pro career in pinstripes on June 10th, 2002. In his first at-bat, Thames hit a homer off Arizona Diamondbacks Randy Johnson and received a monstrous curtain call from a packed house at Yankee Stadium.

One year later, Thames was traded to the Texas Rangers for Rubin Sierra, but free-agency landed him with the Detroit Tigers three months later.

Thames remained a Tiger through 2009, playing mainly in left field but also used as a DH and first baseman.

In 2008, Thames hit eight home runs in eight games, making a new Tigers record.

Thames’ solid hitting in the clutch, along with proving success against left-handed pitching, appealed to the Yankees.

GM Brian Cashman signed Thames to a minor-league contract with nothing promised but the possibility of a good match.

Thames fought in Spring Training and made the 2010 Opening Day roaster as an outfielder competing with Brett Gardner and Randy Winn for playing time.

After spending most of June on the DL, Thames’ return has been been a difference maker for the Yankees. His reliable hitting has gained the trust of Yankee fans.

Since rejoining the Yankees, Thames, in 116 at-bats, has had 37 hits, five doubles, four home runs, 16 RBI and has a .319 batting average.

Yankee fans everywhere are happy to welcome back Marcus Thames.

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New York Yankees Get 2009 Swagger Back by Beating Cliff Lee and Rangers

Game Notes

The odds were stacked up against the New York Yankees before Texas Rangers Cliff Lee even threw his first pitch.

By the top of the sixth inning, Lee was schooling the Yankees again, with a 6-1 lead, posting 11 strikeouts, no walks, and a stacked bullpen just waiting.

Yankees Javier Vazquez pitched just shy of six innings. Vazquez is fighting a pitcher’s “dead arm,” which is fatigue from throwing, but regardless Vazquez didn’t skip his start and that is a sign of a true ballplayer.

Mark Teixeira was on a mini-paternity leave, but is back today and his hot bat is always appreciated.

Replacing Tex at the plate and at first base was Marcus Thames, who was the player of the game by a landslide. Thames hit a homer and the ninth inning single that drove in the needed runs for the win.

I really like Thames because he has preformed since joining the Yankees this season. Thames is like a subdued Swisher, just happy to be a Yankee and fans are happy to have him too.


Manager Notes:

I am not even going to try and dissect Skipper Joe Girardi’s decision making because it gets me too upset.

Still, I can’t help but point out that Jorge Posada was in the lineup for the win last night. Ironically 24 hours prior, Jorge was scratched form the lineup due to a bad shoulder.

Another Girardi move in question is why Curtis Granderson is not starting everyday.

Grandy is used to playing everyday and my guess would be that might get his hitting back on track. Grandy is a talented outfielder, if not the best on the Yankees.

Please don’t tell me that Girardi can’t chance Grandy against lefty pitchers. Girardi is the king of giving too many chances (i.e. Mitre), but obviously he can’t seem to figure out who, what, when it makes sense.


Team Notes:

Just 24 hours earlier, Tuesday night’s loss at Rangers Ballpark was awful, gross, and becoming a Yankees trend.

The bats were dead and Mariano Rivera lost the game 4-1 in the 10th inning.

It was grim because the Yankees looked old. Questions about playing October baseball were becoming doubts, but for good reason.

Then came Wednesday night and all of a sudden it felt like 2009 all over again. The Yankees were down multiple runs deep in the game, but that wasn’t going to stop them from winning.

It was dramatic, old school baseball at its best—weekly occurrence last season that was essential in this team’s success.

Nothing but positives can come from beating Cliff Lee, as the aurora of the Yankee players’ attitudes seemed to resurface. That never-giving-up attitude has been dormant this season.

Never-giving-up attitude was the fundamental theme of the 2009 World Series Champions. If the Yankees want to repeat as champs in 2010, it needs to be again.

Last night proved that this team could do it all over again.

Mark my words, beating the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, in 100-plus degree weather and against the best pitcher in baseball will be remembered as the turning point for the 2010 Yankees.

It’s about time the Bombers started acting like champs and last night that swagger came back.

The improbable and impossible victory also gave Yankees fans some needed comfort and a good night’s sleep.



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