Before I begin, let me state that I really like the way the 2006 squad looks as of today, without Thomas. However, that is part of the reason I want the A's to sign him, which hopefully will make sense to you, fellow AN'ers, momentarily. (All of this assumes his medical tests will check out.)
What I mean is the A's do not need Thomas to save the franchise or be the AL MVP to justify his acqusition. We won't even need him to be in the lineup every day, as he undoubtedly won't be able to. If Dr. Scholls isn't working one afternoon, Thomas can sit the day out and not have to be the hero, with all the depth we will have built up.
Obviously, a player of Thomas' stature is only avaliable to a team of our financial means because of his significant injury risk. But I feel this risk is a calculated one worth taking. Judging by his career numbers, Thomas is probably a $10 million a year player, and since his market has dried up, (I think Piazza will wind up in Anahiem) I think the A's can land him for $3 million plus incentives, and very possibly less than that. Therefore, the chance of having Thomas hit for 120 or even 100 games is well worth such a relatively low cost.
Many of you have pointed out that the A's currently have starters set at each position, and feel that Thomas' addition would force a trade of another player. However, I strongly feel that this is simply not the case. For one thing, Thomas will be given numerous days off to protect his fragile feet, and other players will be able to get more days off as well, keeping them fresh throughout the season. As our esteemed GM Billy Beane pointed out in his interview with Blez, (which was very well done, thanks Blez) our team has worn down at the end of each of the last two seasons because of the lack of depth. Thomas' signing should help prevent a reoccurence in '06.
To use an example of a player who would be affected by Thomas, let's use Jay Payton. It's well known here and everywhere else how he forced his way out of Boston, and many of you worry about a repeat here in Oakland. However, I feel that Payton would still start 120 games at least, and possibly more if Kotsay's back remains troublesome. A player of Payton's stature cannot reasonably complain about not playing all 162 games; in Boston, he was upset because he never played at all. In fact, I would say that Chavez and Crosby are the only canidates to play all 162, and Chavy will likely get some of his at DH. The other starters will have days off, and this is where our new-found depth will pay off, especially late in the season and in the dog days.
If the A's sign Thomas, they will have 6 capable players manning 5 spots, keeping everyone both sharp and fresh with little decline in production. At the same time, they'll reap the benefits of Thomas' still-potent bat while not overworking him.
There is already a front page poll on this topic, so I'd like to see some in-depth response from my fellow An'ers, both pro and anti Big Hurt. Let's hear it!