Friday, November 17, 2006

FRANK THOMAS, It's official!

Well the Jays have answered the pace set by the Red Sox as they have now signed Frank Thomas to a 2 year, $18 million contract with an option for a third year at $10 million. He's a type B free agent and that means the Jays don't lose a draft pick!!! The press conference is at 2:30pm. That's a big amount, certainly for someone who has been injury prone however Thomas proved last year that he could lead and provide a very significant bat to the lineup. 39 home runs would look good in the Jays lineup and so would his .381 OBP. However this is a big percentage of the payroll and I truly believe that JP has more money than he has alluded to. If not, there may be a trade ready for Vernon Wells which would see pitching coming back the Jays way. But this is definitely a move made to make this team competitive now and that's a good thing...the guy was a beast on the road last year putting up a line of .302/.417/.549 with 23 of his 39 home runs! Also the move from Oakland to Toronto improves his home runs by 42% according to Park Factor which means around 22-23 home runs at home for a total of 45ish if he keeps his pace from last year. Plus he'll be better protected in this big lineup for the Jays. He's also sitting at 487 home runs, so the Jays should have a good ticket-selling heartwarming moment when he becomes the 21st player to hit 500 home runs. If he hits 46 in his first season he would move into 15th on the all time list.

Oh and here's a little comparison of Designated Hitters:
Player A: 11.4 VORP in 319 appearances
Player B: 41.3 VORP in 559 appearances
Player A is Shea Hillenbrand, Player B is Frank Thomas. The guy should add about 5 wins on his own to this team if he stays healthy.

JP made a decision that Lugo was too expensive and that he'd rather sign Thomas' proven bat for similar money and without giving up the first round pick that he would have had to give up for Lugo. At this point, they need to rebuild that system so that's a good call. It feels as though just like last year, JP is not waiting for the market to be set but is setting it himself, he is very proactive and moves fast when he knows what he wants...let's hope it works!

Two important quotes...From the Star's article
"It would send another message around the league that we're right there and getting better," said Wells, signed for the coming season but still waiting on talks about a contract extension to heat up. "That's a huge bat."

"It definitely perks my interest," said Lilly, a guy the Jays would definitely like to re-sign but one that has attracted inquiries from, by his reckoning, 12 to 14 teams."Getting Thomas would be great to see."

Looks like the guys are happy...goes to my point that this signing may attract other players cheaper.

Oh and Rosenthal has some thoughts on the signing as well as insight on Lilly's situation and the Jays still being in the market for him.

1 comment:

Dan Julien said...

JP was just on the fan...he's involved with a lot of people but Thomas was just the first to sign. He's still in talks with Lilly and other pitchers. He thinks the pitching market will be slow as predicted. Hoping players see that they are trying to be a playoff team
On the budget issue, he tiptoed around the question.