SEATTLE -- After the whirlwind that has been the past 24 hours for Eric Thames, it would be perfectly normal for the outfielder to be straight-faced and frustrated. But the new Mariner, whom Seattle acquired in a trade from the Blue Jays on Monday night for relief pitcher Steve Delabar, wasn't showing signs of stress.
In fact, it was his infectious personality and constant smile that stood out more than anything as he strolled through the clubhouse and took batting practice with the Mariners prior to Tuesday's game against his former team.
"It's amazing. It's a fresh start," Thames said. "With everything that happened in Toronto this year, it's nice to be able to join a great group of individuals and a great team. I played with some of these guys in the Fall League and [it's a] young group and guys are developing, just like myself. Exciting to be part of it."
In the odd circumstances that always seem to come near the non-waiver Trade Deadline, Thames had just stepped to the plate and fouled off the first pitch he saw in his fourth at-bat for Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday when the team's hitting coach called him over. The coach told him Travis Snider had been traded from the big league club and so Thames went into the clubhouse to pack, assuming he'd been called up.
Of course he quickly learned that the team that had drafted him had traded him to the Mariners. In another odd twist, with the Mariners in the midst of a three-game set with the Blue Jays, he was able to see his former teammates again Tuesday.
It's all part of the journey, one that Thames said he has learned that he can't completely control. Thames began the year with the Blue Jays and hit .243 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 46 games but was optioned to Las Vegas in late May. He was hitting .330 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 54 games in Triple-A this season.
"It was my first time dealing with the intangible things in baseball," Thames said. "As a ballplayer you can't control everything. You can't control where you get sent, if the organization is happy with you, if you're driving the ball or not. [What] I did is focus on myself in the Minor Leagues, regroup and know I just need to focus on playing the game the right way, respect it, play hard and the chips will fall as they should."
As far as his new team, Thames is excited to get going and help the young Mariners build toward the future. Manager Eric Wedge said he would find playing time for the outfielder and Thames should get an opportunity to showcase his abilities.
"We've got two months left and this is a building year for this organization," Thames said. "I'm excited to get to know these players and this team and be a driving force with them."