Did the Padres make the right decision by not signing Eric Thames over the winter? Did they avoid a potential nightmare scenario in doing so? Find out why signing Thames would have been harmful to the Padres long-term future.
If you’ve followed baseball for the last couple months, you know Eric Thames is atop the list of names being written about in the media. The talking heads from sports debate shows seem to have conflicting opinions about Thames and for good reason.
But if you haven’t heard of him I bet you’re thinking what’s all the hubbub about? Simple. Thames was a nobody before this season. Nobody knew who he was. The media wasn’t debating his success, but now he’s playing like one of the best power hitters in the game. Naturally, people are talking. They’re saying is he on something? He has responded on at least one occasion in front of the media adamantly denying the use of performance enhancing drugs. Now to be fair, there is no proof thus far that he has used. Not a single shred of evidence suggests he’s been cheating, but that doesn’t stop the media and the public from jumping to a worst case scenario.
The Padres were looking into signing Thames in the offseason. Ultimately, Thames signed with the Brewers, but is that a good thing? The Padres could have avoided the next cheating scandal in sports by not signing Thames. I know there’s no evidence, but let’s be honest would anyone be surprised if Thames was using performance enhancing drugs? I doubt it. If you look at his physique he’s an immensely strong man. He’s built more like a bodybuilder than a traditional baseball player. He’s an outfielder. He doesn’t need to be as built as he is. That’s not to say that he doesn’t simply have a passion for lifting weights and natural forms of strength training, but baseball history and Brewers history tells us to be skeptical.
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With that said the Padres certainly could have avoided a scandal, but what about the on the field value? Was Thames production value with his bat worth signing to make their outfield even more crowded? I’m not so sure, particularly after the recent production they’ve received from their outfielders.
Manuel Margot is batting .276 with 4 home runs and 13 RBIs. Hunter Renfroe is batting .217 with 7 home runs and 17 RBIs. The overall production coming from the San Diego’s outfield is perfectly enough to avoid the potential scandal that signing Thames could have caused. The Padres simply did not need him and are showing it early in the 2017 campaign.
What do you think? Should the Padres have signed Thames? Would he have been worth the risk? Is it fair to suggest he could be cheating? Should we use innocent until proven guilty in America’s national pastime or are we at a point where being skeptical is a necessary evil? Leave your opinions in the comment section.