Jerry Crasnick has an ESPN insider article on free agent veteran bats still available. Here is a snippet from the portion of the article on Frank Thomas. What he has here is really nothing different from Susan Slusser's article yesterdayAlthough Thomas has been dogged by ankle problems, he showed enough pop to make clubs think he can have an impact if healthy. He batted only .219, but hit 12 homers in 105 at-bats for a .590 slugging percentage. Thomas also helped amend his image as a "me first" guy by cheering on his teammates with his foot in a cast during the World Series. And unlike the other sluggers on the waiting list, he hasn't encountered a hint of steroid speculation.
Oakland remains a prime Thomas suitor
Signing Thomas might create enough of a logjam that the Athletics have to move a hitter -- most likely outfielder Jay Payton. But that doesn't appear to be a major impediment to a deal.
The trading of Jay Payton if Thomas is signed is being discussed in OaktownIn06's Diary. Personally, I think it would be a mistake to move Payton if we are only doing so out of fear that he will blow up like last year in Boston because he was not getting enough playing time. Here's three reasons why: (1) Bradley (2) Kotsay (2)Thomas. All three of these guys have an injury plagued history and I suspect Payton would be getting plenty of at bats.
But the poll below deals with the appropriately named "Big Hurt". If healthy, this Walt Hriniak protégé would be a heck of a pick up (Here are Thomas' career numbers). Most people agree with that theory, but because that is a huge IF, the debate about Oakland's interest in Thomas mostly centers around his health. How many at bats do you think Frank Thomas will have in 2006? Cast your vote below.