Breaking Down Eric Thames

June 30, 2013 | Max Buchdahl

Today, the Orioles went out and made a seemingly harmless move by acquiring OF Eric Thames from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Ty Kelly, who had been in Double-A Bowie. Thames is currently battling a fractured left hand, and will head to the Norfolk Tides after rehabbing the injury in Sarasota. He will take up the spot left by Travis Ishikawa on the 40-man roster.

Thames joins a list of mid-tier outfielders in the Orioles system. A left-handed hitter, Thames may not be a starter when he arrives in Norfolk. The Tides already have outfielders Jason Pridie, L.J. Hoes, Lew Ford, Xavier Avery, and Henry Urrutia on their roster. The Orioles don’t have any shortage of outfielders either, with Steve Pearce and Nolan Reimold due back from the disabled list in the coming weeks.

Given what is already a surplus of able outfielders in the system, what does the addition of Thames do for the birds?

The Orioles are known to be in the market for a starting pitcher, with names like Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, and Scott Feldman being thrown around. It seems as if the Cubs’ asking price for Garza is a little too high for the Orioles liking, as the O’s appear unwilling to part with a young pitching prospect.

Most likely, that means that if the Orioles want to acquire one of those pitchers, an outfielder will have to go. By adding Thames, the Orioles have some extra depth when it comes to a trade piece. Plus, the Orioles had to give up very little for Thames’s services. Although Ty Kelly has shown some flashes of success with Bowie, he seems destined for a long career of cheap hotels in the minor leagues.

With the trade deadline looming in almost exactly a month, the Orioles need to start moving on the deal they’ve been teasing fans with all season. If the acquisition of yet another middle-tier outfielder forebodes anything, it’s that trade for another starting pitcher.