By Jason Wojciechowski on January 27, 2006 at 12:33 AM
They did it! Frank Thomas is an Athletic!
For half a million bucks base, the A's got one of the greatest hitters of the past 30 years to DH for them. So he's 37. So he's had injury problems. So what? The man had a .590 slugging last year despite just a .219 batting average.
If he's healthy, the A's got a six-win player for $3 million (the maximum value of the contract). If he's not, they got a 1-3 win player for half a mil.
Most importantly, it's an exciting thing to have a truly awesome, all-time great like Frank Thomas on the team. The last time someone of his career-caliber played for Oakland was probably 1998, when Rickey Henderson made his last A's appearance, dropping a .376 OBP and recording his final significant stolen base total, with 66.
Angels? What Angels? I'm exuberant.
I wonder what this means for Nick Swisher, Jay Payton, and Bobby Kielty, though. Consider that the A's have a .350-OBP guy as the fifth outfielder right now. That's not a problem, necessarily, especially since Thomas (or anyone else, as we saw last year) could drop at any moment. However, we'll see if Jay Payton likes splitting time, and we also have to hope that Nick Swisher can continue to develop if he's not playing every day.
From an offensive standpoint, is there a better 1-5 outfield in baseball right now? Defensively they're not too shabby either, even if Swisher and Kielty are average at best, because of the presence of two legitimate center fielders plus an additional decent one (Payton).