TORONTO, CANADA: Eric Thames #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after striking out to end the game during MLB inter-league game action against the New York Mets at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Last season, rookie outfielder Eric Thames didn't exactly tear things up. But he did post a .456 slugging percentage; that, combined with his fairly impressive minor-league performance, was enough to make Blue Jays management think Thames was ready for regular duties this season.
It hasn't worked out for Thames, or the Jays. Tuesday, he's been demoted to triple-A Las Vegas. From the official press release:
Thames, 25, has appeared in 46 games for Toronto this season posting a .243 batting average with seven doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. The 6-1, 205 lb. left handed hitter is batting .193 in May with one home run and eight RBI. Thames, who also appeared in 95 games for Toronto last season, has a career batting average of .257 in 141 games with 31 doubles, 15 home runs and 48 RBI.
It's those May numbers that really killed him, and it's telling that those numbers were mentioned in the release. Also damning: Thames' spot on the roster is being filled by 31-year-old utility player Mike McCoy, who's got a .194 career batting average in the majors. McCoy also has a .395 career on-base percentage in Class AAA, but doesn't figure to play regularly for the Jays.
Or maybe he will, as the only obvious alternative in left field is Rajai Davis, who's played largely against left-handed pitchers but hasn't hit much better than Thames. The good news is that ex-prospect Adam Lind has been pounding the ball with Las Vegas, and ex-prospect Travis Snider was doing the same before a wrist injury; ultimately, one or both of those guys might be a part of the solution in left field.
For the moment, though, the Jays are terribly short-handed, with little production in left field or at first base.