SEATTLE -- Eric Thames has the fresh start he was probably looking for after being dealt to the Mariners on Monday night.
Thames began the year as Toronto's starting left fielder after beating out Travis Snider for the job in Spring Training. He was later optioned to the Minors following a disappointing start to the year and watched as Snider, Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra passed him on the depth chart.
Now Thames finds himself back in the big leagues with a second chance to prove he has what it takes to make it at the next level. He has always been a positive guy, but on Tuesday afternoon he couldn't have looked any happier to be at Safeco Field and in a Mariners uniform.
"It's just a great opportunity," said Thames, who hit .243 with three homers for the Blue Jays this year. "I felt like in Triple-A I had no idea what was going on, what was going to happen. Now, talking to the GM of the Seattle Mariners, and knowing it's a fresh chance for a new start with a great band of teammates.
"It's very exciting and you can't help but feeling enthused. I really am, it's a great opportunity for me to come here and play ball with a new team and develop with these players."
Thames, who was not in the starting lineup against Toronto on Tuesday night, was pulled in the middle of an at-bat on the eve of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. He was already aware that Snider had been traded, and the San Jose native assumed he was being taken out of the game to be called up to the Blue Jays.
It wasn't until 10-to-15 minutes later that Thames was informed he was being sent to Seattle in exchange for right-hander Steve Delabar. The irony of being traded on the same night as Snider wasn't lost on the 25-year-old.
Thames spent most of the offseason and all of Spring Training constantly being compared to his fellow outfielder. Even though Thames initially won the job, it was a difficult time made even more challenging when he was demoted to the Pacific Coast League in May.
"It was very trying because it was my first time going through that media firestorm," Thames said. "It was different, it was a learning experience, I feel like I came out a better man and that's the biggest result that I could ever ask for.
"Now, it's just hit the ground running, keep learning, keep adapting to the game, keep learning from the veterans and it's going to be very exciting. "