Friday, November 17, 2006

Frank Thomas a Blue Jay

Uh boy...

I'm scratching my head over this one.

Why was "The Big Hurt" a priority? The Jays have been on the verge of contending for the last couple of years, but their holes were obvious: middle relief pitching, a shortstop who can hit, and maybe some starting help (though, if healthy, the Jays are pretty good in this area).

So, I'm tempted to add this signing to the list of strange signings by GM J.P. Ricciardi. Don't get me wrong, I think Ricciardi's been doing a good job of getting the Jays off the scrap heap of recent years, but he seems to be incapable of getting the Jays that last mile.

My favourite example? Bengie Molina. What was up with that? The Jays had a veteran leader with an underused dependable bat in Greg Zaun, but just when it appeared Zaun had clearly earned the starting catcher's spot, the Jays go out and sign free agent Molina for way more money ($5M vs $1M). Why? They then had two catchers, so of course the higher paid one got more playing time, deserved or no (they ended up with very similar stats). Now both have signed for free agency and both want starting jobs. That was $5M very poorly spent; Zaun was a bargain.

So now 48 year old Thomas gets $9M. The same Thomas who was essentially dumped by the Chicago White Sox a couple of years back. The same Thomas who was named "Comeback Player of the Year" last year and made Oakland so happy (no wonder: he was earning next to nothing).

So now Thomas is getting big bucks again. It remains to be seen if, at 38, he's a big bucks player. Either way, odds are his signing means he'll be playing with small bucks teammates.

That's what I call a "Big Hurt".

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