Jays find some post-Christmas bargains
Frank Thomas - 2 years/$18 million
Vernon Wells - 7 years/$126 million
Just when you thought that J.P. Ricciardi had become the new poster boy for spending in baseball, he comes up with a couple of signings that harken back to his low-budget Oakland roots.John Thomson - 1 year/$500,000
This is a brilliant signing. For a shade over the major league minimum, the Jays pick up a pitcher who has a shot at pitching 200 innings, possibly with an ERA close to league average. As we've witnessed this offseason, that type of commodity is now worth about $10 million per season. Thomson hasn't been healthy the past two seasons, but he's a willing, experienced ligament. And he might outpitch Gil Meche this season, despite signing for less than 1% of the money.Lyle Overbay - 4 years/$24 million
What makes this signing particularly savvy is the term. The Jays buy the first two years of Overbay's free agency. In a world in which Juan Pierre makes $9 million annually, I don't even want to guess the value of a .300 hitter with 20 homers who will actually take a pitch. Especially in 3 years. Overbay's a solid hitter, and even though he has probably reached his ceiling, if he can maintain his career averages throughout the contract (.293/.372/.467) he will easily be worth $6 million per year. He's signed through his age 33 season, which isn't unreasonable, and if a 1B prospect in the organization catches fire and demands playing time, this is hardly an untradeable contract.