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Tampa Bay Rays Free Agent Rumors: We now know the competition for Eric Thames

Eric Thames is looking to possibly return stateside after spending the past three years in Korea

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as the Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres have shown interested in signing Eric Thames, who hasn’t played a major league game since 2012.

Thames has spent the past three years playing in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) for the NC Dinos. Over that time, Thames has been among the league leaders in home runs, and even led the league in homers in 2016, averaging over 40 HR per season.

Thames, 30, was originally drafted the Toronto Blue Jays in the 7th round of the 2008 draft and eventually became one of the top 20 prospects in their system. He made his major league debut in 2011 and played above replacement level, but in 2012 he took a step backwards and split they year with Toronto and the Seattle Mariners. After spending 2013 with a couple of minor league organizations, Thames decided to go overseas and his career has been resurrected thanks to this move.

A couple of weeks ago, Bradley Woodrum said the Rays could target the outfielder

Thames may end up being a bargain for the Rays if he can translate his KBO numbers to the MLB, but with with bargain hunting comes real opportunity cost risks -- such as playing a whole season with a lackluster LF-DH who doesn't field any better than Corey Dickerson.

Great things aren't impossible with Eric Thames, but they aren't likely either.

Woodrum also mentions that MLB Trade Rumors has Eric Thames predicted to sign a two year - $10 million deal with the Rays.