Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Big Hurt; Or, How The Hek Nearly Fell Off His Chair

When I found out that the Blue Jays are on the verge of signing Frank Thomas, a number of things happened to me. First, there was a massive rush of blood to my head. I became dazed and almost fell off my chair. I had to grip the sides to maintain balance. Then, I felt overwhelmed and had to leave my room for a bit. When I came back, I thought I was dreaming; so, I pinched myself. Turns out I wasn't dreaming.

Baring a sudden turn of events, Frank Thomas is going to join the Jays for $20 Million over the next 2-3 years. Thomas is a flat out power hitter. That's all he can do. He will no doubt fill the role of designated hitter. However, the more I think about it, the more hesitant I feel about him being part of the Jays.

Don't get me wrong, Frank Thomas would be a great addition for Toronto. I want it to happen. It's just that $20 Million is way too much to spend for him. If this was 1993-94 when Thomas was tearing up the league, then $20 Million would have been appropriate. But it's 2006 and up until this past season, Thomas was plagued with injuries. He's slow on the base paths and he can't even field anymore. This year with the Athletics, Thomas made an amazing comeback. As Oakland's DH he hit 39 homeruns and knocked in 114 RBIs. What's important to note is that Thomas only earned $500,000. Obviously, he deserves a raise; but $20 Million is excessive. If I was the general manager, I would have only offered him $5-8 Million over two years.

Frank Thomas is a big gamble. He could get injured again and for all we know, what he did in 2006, could have been just a fluke. If it's August and he's hitting .150, heads are going to roll.

The Blue Jays should not waste all their money on hitters. It would be great to have Thomas but, they already have a solid group of hitters. The Jays should use the majority of their spending money on pitching.

In the end, pitching wins baseball games. Toronto is just one decent starter away from making the playoffs. That's all they need (as long as none of the starters suffer too many injuries like they did this past season). Spending $20 Million on a good hitter is not going to get the Jays to the post-season. Spending money on a high caliber pitcher will.

I just hope the Blue Jays do not suffer the same fate as the Raptors did when they brought in Hakeem Olawjiwan. I still have nightmares about that.

The Hek

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