The Los Angeles Dodgers today signed outfielder Marcus Thames to a one-year contract. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.
"Marcus brings a power bat to our outfield options, particularly against left-handed pitching," said Colletti. "His positive presence in the clubhouse is an added benefit and he also knows what it takes to play in the postseason."
Thames (pronounced Tims) posted career highs with a .288 batting average and a .350 on-base percentage in 82 games last season with the Yankees. The right-handed hitter tied for second on the Yankees in overall batting average and also ranked second on the club with a .300 batting average (39-for-130) against left-handers. He led New York with a .344 batting average (21-for-61) in 19 August games, which was the sixth-highest mark in the American League, and hit home runs in five consecutive starts from Aug. 24-30 (six homers total) to become the first Yankee to homer in five straight starts since Alex Rodriguez from Sept. 4-9, 2007.
The 33-year-old hit a career-high 26 home runs in his first full big league season in 2006 and has averaged a home run every 14.93 at-bats since the start of the 2006 season, which is the fourth-best mark in the American League over that span (min. 1,200 AB). He has averaged a home run every 15.58 at-bats in his career, which is the 27th-best mark all-time (min. 1,500 AB). In 2008, he had eight straight hits go for home runs from June 7-17, marking the longest such streak in the Majors since Mark McGwire's 11 straight home runs in 2001. During that stretch, he also tied a Detroit franchise record by homering in five straight games from June 13-17, 2008.
Thames has a .248 career batting average with 82 doubles, 113 home runs and 294 RBI in 604 games over his nine Major League seasons with the Yankees (2002, 2010), Rangers (2003) and Tigers (2004-09). He was on the 2006 American League champion Tigers and saw action in the ALDS, ALCS and World Series. Thames also appeared in eight postseason games last season as a member of the Yankees.
Thames was originally selected by the Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft out of East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss. and made his Major League debut with the club on June 10, 2002. He was traded to Texas in exchange for Ruben Sierra during the 2003 season before signing with Detroit as a free agent prior to the 2004 campaign.
While with the Tigers, he was an active participant in the community, supporting Play Baseball Detroit, Tigers Dreams Come True and the Detroit Tigers Autographed Memorabilia Program. Thames resides in Starkville, Miss. with his wife, Danna, and two daughters, Deja and Jade.