the River Thames flows on

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers have effectively released Marcus Thames tonight, sending him off into the thorny wilds of free agency. At the same time they set Matt Treanor free, but we barely got to know him. The River has been with us since the ’04 season.

~*~the end of an era~*~

And what a weird era it was. The River showed promise here and there, usually in the form of power. Most of us probably have a memory or two of some favorite, massive, awe-inspiring Thames home run. That was where he excelled. His ability to hit for average was always pretty weak, and his ability to get on base was usually not massively better (although it WAS better). He didn’t have much speed and he was an indifferent outfielder. But when he got around square on a baseball… hoo boy.

As Rod Allen would of course say: COUNTRY STRONG!

The River only played in 100+ games twice in his Tigers career, in 2006 and 2008. In both those years he had solid numbers: slugging percentages over .500, 20+ home runs, OPSs over .800. He was never really a proper regular, though, not even in those years. Despite their willingness to trot out all kinds of disasters at various times, the Tigers never did seem to warm up to the idea of an everyday River. Jim Leyland never acted like he thought Thames was a legitimate starter, even when there was a dearth of legitimate starters on the team. Obviously this did not work out well for The River, who ended up sitting more than he wanted to and perhaps quite a bit more than he would have on another team.

Why? I don’t know. I can assume (hope) that the coaching staff and front office had their reasons. Like I said, it’s not as though The River was some sort of star fielder, or had some amazing ability to get on base. He was always a fairly depthless power guy. But that never seemed to stop the Tigers where other cats were concerned.

The River will be 33 next season. He’s done with the Tigers; here’s hoping he catches on somewhere else and tears it the heck up. So long as said tear-ups don’t immediately and negatively affect the Tigers.

5 responses to “the River Thames flows on

  1. His release is a sign of the economic realities confronting the Tigers: He would have earned $2.5-$3 million in 2010, and the Tigers need to manage/limit payroll. I liked the River, but I do not blame the Tigers for this move.

  2. The Legend of Larry Leyland comes to a close. I would think he’ll be looking for employment in the AL only, but one never knows. Bon chance, mon ami “Le Fleuve”.

  3. Bye, Marcus :(

    I don’t know if we have anyone left on the team who’s legitimately Country Strong.

  4. Will miss Marcus!, I think he lost alot when Craig Monroe was let go. I know,I know, it’s not a kid’s game anymore, it’s all about money! “Damn Yankees”!… I just hope the Tigers keep trying to build a team of Tigers.

  5. Leshnock, true, and I guess better than him than some of the other rumored payroll cuts out there. Still. The era, it has ended. Sigh.

    Jeff, ah ha haha, yeah, I think he’d be best suited to a team that could DH him at least part of the time. But you never know, some NL squad might want a little power off the bench or something, I guess.

    heitk1le, Miggy is kind of Country Strong? But it just won’t be the same. :(

    Walleyeman, I think not getting to play all that often was kind of wearing on him… especially when he saw all the other cats the Tigers were willing to put out there. In that sense at least it’s probably better for him to move on.

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