Thames signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan on Tuesday, Yahoo! Japan reports.
The 34-year-old struggled with the Nationals in 2020 with a .617 OPS in 41 games, and the team declined the mutual option after the season. Thames returned to MLB in 2017 after revitalizing his career in Korea, and he'll now be returning overseas for 2021.
Thames' club portion of his mutual contract option was declined by the Nationals on Wednesday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Thames could still elect to remain with the club on a $4 million deal for a second season, but he'll be owed $1 million if he declines his player option. The 33-year-old slashed .203/.300/.317 with three home runs and 12 RBI while appearing in 41 games during the shortened 2020 season.
Thames isn't in the lineup for Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Mets.
Thames' playing time has decreased significantly in recent games, and he'll take a seat once again for Saturday's matinee. Yadiel Hernandez will take over as the designated hitter.
Thames is not in Thursday's lineup against the Mets.
Thames has started just one game since Sept. 20. Kurt Suzuki will start at designated hitter while batting third.
Thames isn't in Wednesday's lineup against the Phillies.
Thames will retreat to the bench Wednesday for the fourth time in the last five games, even with right-hander Zach Eflin starting for Philadelphia. Asdrubal Cabrera will take over at first base.
Thames will sit Monday against the Phillies.
Thames sits despite a righty (Zack Wheeler) taking the hill for the Phillies. It's just the third time all season the veteran has found himself on the bench against a right-hander. With Thames, who's 33 years old and will be a free agent next season, hitting just .208/.296/.325 on the year, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the struggling defending champions plan for next season and give more at-bats to younger options in the final week of the year. That's not actually what they're doing Monday, though, as 34-year-old Asdrubal Cabrera starts at first base while 32-year-old Brock Holt serves as the designated hitter.
Thames is out of the lineup for Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader against the Marlins.
Thames went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and committed a crucial error during Game 1, and he'll stick on the bench for the nightcap with lefty Braxton Garrett on the mound for Miami. Jake Noll receives the start at first base in Game 2 for Washington.
Thames isn't starting Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader against the Marlins.
Thames reached base twice during the first game of Friday's doubleheader, and he'll take a seat for Game 2. Jake Noll will start at first base in his absence.
Thames is not in Wednesday's lineup against the Rays.
The expectation is that lefty Josh Fleming will be the Rays' primary pitcher in this one. Even so, Thames is hitting .212 with a .257 OBP and a 37.1 percent strikeout rate this month, continuing what has been a pretty disappointing season for the perceived slugger. Nobody expected Thames to hit for a high average, but his .296 OBP and .339 SLG on the season are well below expectations.
Thames sits Tuesday against lefty Ryan Yarbrough and the Rays.
Thames has yet to start against a single southpaw this season. Given that he's hitting just .212/.291/.323 on the year, it's easier to see him losing at-bats against righties than it is to see him gaining playing time against lefties. Asdrubal Cabrera will be the first baseman Tuesday.
Thames will not start Saturday against Atlanta.
It's no surprise to see Thames on the bench with a lefty (Max Fried) on the mound for the opposition. Whether or not Thames loses playing time against righties as well down the stretch remains to be seen. Carter Kieboom was recalled Saturday and will start at third base, pushing Asdrubal Cabrera to first.
Thames went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI in the second game of Friday's doubleheader against Atlanta.
After sitting during the matinee, Thames hit fifth in the nightcap and helped the Nats to a 10-9 win. The 33-year-old should continue to hold down the strong side of a platoon at first base with Asdrubal Cabrera despite a poor .209/.294/.330 slash line on the season.
Thames will sit for the first game of Friday's doubleheader against Atlanta.
Thames hits the bench with the left-handed Tommy Milone set to start for Atlanta. He'll likely return for the nightcap against righty Josh Tomlin.
Thames will sit Wednesday against the Phillies.
For the first time all season, Thames will sit even with a righty (Zack Wheeler) on the mound for the opposition. Given that he's hitting just .205/.298/.325 on the season, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him sit more frequently going forward. Asdrubal Cabrera slides to first base in his absence, with Brock Holt starting at third.
Thames went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Sunday's 9-5 loss to the Red Sox.
The Nationals were hoping that Thames could be a consistent power presence when they signed him last offseason, but that has been far from the case thus far. His fifth-inning long ball of Zack Godley marked just his second on the season. Thames will look to see his homer rate increase significantly in the second half of the campaign.
Thames is not in the lineup Friday against the Red Sox.
Thames will head to the bench Friday with southpaw Martin Perez on the mound for Boston. Juan Soto will serve as the designated hitter while Howie Kendrick shifts to first base, leaving Michael Taylor to start in left field.
Thames isn't in the lineup for the first game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Marlins.
With lefty Daniel Castano taking the mound for Miami, Thames will retreat to the bench for Game 1 of the twin bill. Asdrubal Cabrera will shift to first base with Carter Kieboom starting at the hot corner.
Thames went 2-for-5 with three RBI in Tuesday's 8-5 win over Atlanta.
After a miserable start to 2020 that has dropped him down to eighth in the batting order, Thames appears to be finding a groove at the plate, collect three of his 10 hits and four of his six RBI on the season in the last two days. The 33-year-old should continue to man the strong side of a platoon at first base while also seeing action as the DH, but his playing time will be more secure if he can provide consistent production.
Thames went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Monday's 7-6 loss to Atlanta.
His second-inning shot off Touki Toussaint was the first homer of the year for Thames, and his first in a Washington uniform. The 33-year-old is currently splitting starts at first base with Asdrubal Cabrera, and Thames will need to improve significantly on his .182/.250/.295 slash line if he wants to avoid losing even more playing time.
Thames is not in Sunday's lineup against the Orioles.
He will head to the bench with southpaw John Means on the hill for Baltimore. Asdrubal Cabrera will start at first base and bat third.
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2009||R-Gcl Blue Jays||7||21||4||6||3||0||0||1||3||5||0||0||.286||.360||.429|
|2010||AA-New Hampshire Fisher||130||496||95||143||25||6||27||104||50||121||8||5||.288||.369||.526|
|2011||AAA-Las Vegas 51s||53||210||38||74||25||4||7||45||23||41||5||2||.352||.423||.610|
|2012||AAA-Las Vegas 51s||54||197||31||65||15||3||6||32||26||42||1||1||.330||.407||.528|
|2018||AAA-Colorado Springs Sky||4||14||3||6||0||0||1||3||1||--||0||0||.429||.467||.643|