Jays sign Frank Thomas
For $18 million over 2 years, The Big Hurt is coming to Toronto.
That's a lot of money for a man who will be 39 in May, and is one of the least mobile men in all of baseball. Then again, you don't have to move all that fast after you've hit the ball 400 feet. Thomas had 39 homers last season, 23 of them in Oakland, a park that isn't nearly as homer friendly as the Rogers Centre. It's not out of the realm of possibilty that Thomas could reach 50 homers next season.
He will have to stay healthy, something he hasn't been able to do in 2 of the past 3 seasons. That said, he'll only be asked to DH, the Jays training staff did a nice job keeping Troy "Old Aches and Pains" Glaus on the field last season, and Thomas seemed to have a renewed motivation after the way he was dismissed by the White Sox.
So yes, this is a high risk, high reward move. But a younger player coming off a season in which he hit .270/.381/.545 wouldn't be available for this kind of money. The Jays have had some success signing older Hall of Fame DHs with injury histories. The last two were Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor. That seemed to work out ok.
The fact Ricciardi is splashing around this kind of money in November also suggests that his budget isn't quite as tight as he's let on publicly.
Finally, Thomas will become the first player to reach the 500 homer plateau as a Blue Jay. That is unless health issues prevent him picking up 13 homers over the next two seasons... in which case, move over Mike Sirotka, this will be the worst signing ever.