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 Tigers part ways with Treanor, Thames

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PostSubject: Tigers part ways with Treanor, Thames   Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:36 pm

Tigers part ways with Treanor, Thames
Pair likely to become free agents after removal from roster

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

11/06/09 4:53 PM EST

DETROIT -- Marcus Thames' Tigers tenure is likely over. The team removed him from the 40-man roster Friday, the first step towards making the slugging outfielder a free agent.

The move was part of the Tigers' maneuverings to prepare their 40-man roster. Catcher Matt Treanoralso was taken off the roster and will become a free agent. The moves free up spots for reliever Joel Zumaya and infielder Jeff Larish, both of whom were reinstated from the 60-day disabled list as required.

Infield prospect Michael Hollimon also was taken off the DL, but he was outrighted to Triple-A Toledo.

Thames was eligible for arbitration and was thus expected to be non-tendered this offseason. From that standpoint, Friday's move makes him a free agent sooner than he would've been had the Tigers waited until the December deadline to offer a contract. Nonetheless, it likely ends a career that included several big home runs and torrid stretches in the Tigers lineup, though never culminating in the everyday role he would've liked.

The Tigers signed Thames as a Minor League free agent after the 2003 season. He was a former highly-touted prospect with the Yankees, with whom he made his Major League debut by homering off Randy Johnson in his first big league at-bat. He hit 10 home runs in 184 plate appearances in Detroit in 2004, then stuck with the Tigers for good with a 26-homer season in 2006.

From there, he became known for torrid stretches at the plate. He tied a franchise record in 2008 by homering in five straight games, matching a mark shared by Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, Rudy York, Vic Wertz and Willie Horton. He had a 10-game stretch during that time in which all eight of his hits were home runs, the longest such streak by a Major League player since Mark McGwire's 11 straight home runs in 2001.

Thames seemed set to get a bump in playing time this season once the Tigers released Gary Sheffield at the end of Spring Training. A season-opening slump at the plate and a painful oblique injury in April, however, started him on a year that didn't work out the way he or the Tigers would've liked.

Thames' 13 home runs, 36 RBIs, 258 at-bats and .453 slugging percentage marked his lowest totals since 2005. He batted .252 for the year.

The 32-year-old Thames, as well as the 33-year-old Treanor, will become free agents once they formally notify the Tigers that they will not be accepting outright assignments to the Minor Leagues. They'll immediately be free to sign with any Major League club.

Treanor signed with the Tigers last December to serve as a No. 2 catcher behind Gerald Laird, but played in just four games before undergoing season-ending hip surgery. He's on track to be ready for next season, but the Tigers appear set behind the plate for next year with Laird and top catching prospect Alex Avila.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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