Frank Thomas Rumors
We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time and position, so let's now dig up the largest contracts ever given out by each of the 30 teams. These are in terms of guaranteed money only, but some could end up being even larger because of incentives and option years.
- Angels: Torii Hunter, five years, $90MM
- Astros: Carlos Lee, six years, $100MM
- Athletics: Eric Chavez, six years, $66MM
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells, seven years, $126MM
- Braves: Chipper Jones, six years, $90MM
- Brewers: Ryan Braun, eight years, $45MM
- Cardinals: Matt Holliday, seven years, $120MM
- Cubs: Alfonso Soriano, eight years, $136MM
- Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson, four years, $53.4MM
- Dodgers: Kevin Brown, seven years, $105MM
- Giants: Barry Zito, seven years, $126MM
- Indians: Travis Hafner, four years, $57MM
- Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, five years, $90MM
- Marlins: Hanley Ramirez, six years, $70MM
- Mets: Johan Santana, six years, $137.5MM
- Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, five years, $45MM
- Orioles: Miguel Tejada, six years, $72MM
- Padres: Jake Peavy, three years, $52MM
- Phillies: Chase Utley, seven years, $85MM
- Pirates: Jason Kendall, six years, $60MM
- Rangers: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $252MM
- Rays: Wilson Alvarez, five years, $35MM
- Reds: Ken Griffey Jr., nine years, $116.5MM
- Red Sox: Manny Ramirez, eight years, $160MM
- Rockies: Todd Helton, nine years, $141.5MM
- Royals: Gil Meche & Mike Sweeney, both five years, $55MM
- Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, eight years, $152.3MM
- Twins: Joe Mauer, eight years, $184MM
- White Sox: Frank Thomas, seven years, $64.4MM
- Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $275MM
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
Frank Thomas, one of the most feared hitters of the past two decades, is calling it a career, MLB.com's Scott Merkin and Doug Miller report. Thomas is scheduled to have a Friday press conference in Chicago, where he had his greatest years, to announce the move.
Thomas has impressive career stats by any measure. He is 18th on the career list in home runs with 521, and his rate stats are even better: a career .301/.419/.555 batting line.
Thomas did not play in 2009, and had a .240/.349/.374 line in a 2008 season split between Oakland and Toronto.
With 1,311 games at designated hitter, and just 971 at first base, the debate will begin as to whether a primary DH belongs in the Hall of Fame. From this view, it will be hard to keep a hitter as dominant as Thomas out of the Hall.
Frank Thomas says he's "close" to retiring, according to ESPN.com. The two-time MVP said there's only about a five percent chance he returns, but he never wants to unretire, so he's intent on thinking his decision through. Thomas believes he could still play in the major leagues and says he's in good shape.
The Big Hurt had eight homers and a .723 OPS last year with the Blue Jays and A's. He has a career .974 OPS and his 521 homers place him 18th on the all-time list.
Newsday's Ken Davidoff runs through six current free agents, digging up new information about a few.
- Paul Byrd never received a call from the Angels, so he'll continue to wait until later this summer to see what's available.
- Frank Thomas is working with hitting coach Mike Easler, who believes "Frank might give it to the All-Star break." Easler says another client of his, Jacque Jones, could help a club.
- Jim Edmonds would play in the right situation, but his agent Paul Cohen doesn't know if there will be an offer. Damion Easley, another Cohen client, would also like to continue his career.
- A friend of Orlando Hernandez's tells Davidoff he's considering a comeback. El Duque didn't pitch in the Majors last year.
- In my opinion, these free agents are better served playing independent league ball than working out privately.
SI.com's Tom Verducci links two of the year's most-discussed trends: the demand for young players and the demand for good defense, writing that "the renewed emphasis on defense hasn't helped the value of older players." As a result, teams are reluctant to sign older free agents like Frank Thomas and Jim Edmonds. Many of the older players who signed contracts this offseason are struggling; Verducci mentions Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera among others. Of course it's too early in the season to make sweeping generalizations, but Verducci concludes that baseball's "a young man's game."
The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has a few bits of information...
- The Red Sox scouted Brewers left-hander Mitch Stetter last week. The 28-year-old reliever has held lefties to a .170 average and rigthties to a .151 mark this season. The Sox, who scouted him last week, are simply being thorough and exploring options in case they come to need anothery lefty in the pen, writes Cafardo.
- Free agent outfielder Frank Catalanotto has received interest, but is holding out for the right fit.
- Jacque Jones and Frank Thomas have been working out together in Las Vegas and are both hoping to land MLB roster spots at some point this season.
- As Cafardo writes, "The Brewers may be emerging in the hunt" for free agent Pedro Martinez. The Blue Jays, Astros, Rockies, A's, Orioles, Indians and Pirates are also thought to have some level of interest.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a new article up looking at a bunch of free agents.
- Crasnick talked to one American League exec who views Pedro Martinez as "strictly a National League pitcher." Coupled with his price tag and long layoff, the market isn't big for Pedro.
- Ben Sheets is weeks away from a throwing program. He's probably a ten-start guy this year, but interest figures to be strong.
- Jim Edmonds hopes to sign by May. He'll need two to three weeks to get ready. Mark Grudzielanek also wants to play, and tells friends he only needs a week. He'll look for a contender, and the Royals will hope he signs before June so they get that supplemental draft pick. Jacque Jones is another guy who still hopes to play.
- Geoff Jenkins is taking grounders at first base to increase his versatility.
- Jay Payton suffered a shoulder injury lifting weights last month, but once he's healthy a few months from now he still wants to play.
- Nothing appears to be cooking for Frank Thomas and Luis Gonzalez, who could be forced to retire. Dave Roberts hasn't officially retired, but a comeback appears unlikely.
- Paul Byrd's plan remains unchanged: sign with a contender around July.
- Jon Lieber's agent says the pitcher has retired. 131 wins, including 20 in '01. Lieber finishes with a 4.27 ERA in 2,198 innings for the Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, and Phillies. He earned over $46MM, according to Baseball Reference.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column...
- The Angels attempted to sell the Reds on Gary Matthews Jr., but it was a one-sided discussion. The Reds have no desire to trade Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang for Matthews. Angels GM Tony Reagins told Rosenthal, "We haven't had much discussions with respect to trades and trade possibilities." UPDATE: Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay he hasn't talked to the Angels since the Winter Meetings.
- Free agent DH Frank Thomas is still waiting for an offer. He intends to delay a decision about retirement until at least the All-Star break. My thought - his situation just got a bit tougher with Gary Sheffield becoming available.
- Rosenthal says the Rays could keep both Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann and cut Lance Cormier, if trade offers for the first two aren't acceptable. Rosenthal adds the Rangers, Nationals, and Indians to the already known suitors (Padres, Pirates, and Rockies). He names the Brewers as "yet another possibility." Rosenthal says the Angels attempted to acquire Niemann a year ago but learned from Reagins that they're not actively looking for pitching.
- The Phillies ate Adam Eaton's contract, but team president David Montgomery is unwilling to do the same to make Geoff Jenkins go away.
- Rosenthal says the offers received for Rockies infielder Jeff Baker "have not been enticing." They may elect to keep him.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports talked to free agent DH Frank Thomas, who is "a little shocked" at the lack of interest. Thomas says he's in excellent shape and doesn't intend to retire. He believes he can hit 35-40 home runs this year and doesn't want a part-time role. Two unknown teams have at least expressed interest.
I'm guessing Thomas might have to accept a minor league deal. I wonder if the Mariners could be a fit.
Some Odds and Ends around the league:
- In a good piece by Chico Harlan of the Washington Post, Nats GM Jim Bowden says Stephen Strasburg is "as good a pitcher as we've seen in the draft in 10 or 15 years." He could be in the rotation as soon as September. Amusingly, Strasburg's mother described Scott Boras, who is advising the phenom, as a "Rottweiler."
- WEEI's Alex Speier lists the Red Sox 19 non-roster invitees. 13 of them have Major League experience. Brad Wilkerson is also expected to be present.
- David Lennon of Newsday.com reports that Omar Minaya has achieved his offseason goals. "The reality is that we've pretty much filled all our priorities," Minaya said. "I'm set to go with this team."
- Phil Rogers touches on the absence of interest in Frank Thomas who is not working out while he's out of camp. Rogers notes the Players Association needs to organize a spring training camp for out-of-work players. He suggests the White Sox abandoned Tucson complex.