I'll give everyone a moment to reflect on the brief and glorious Oakland career of Frank Thomas...
Good, now we can get moving on to the next chapter of our little team that could, by focusing on these positives:
- We are not stupid enough to invest close to 30 million dollars over two years in a guy that can barely WALK to first base and cannot play a single defensive position, while getting blown away by 98-mph fastballs when his team needed him the most
- Our GM performs the best when two things happen (when he has a chip on his shoulder and when he has to be creative to fill a void) and alas, both of those things have, or will happen, this off-season
- With a new stadium on the horizon, it will become more common, hopefully commonPLACE, for our homegrown talent to be locked-up even AFTER they reach free agency. Hopefully that means we can count on Swisher, Street, Harden and Haren being around awhile.
- With Zito, Frank, and possibly Payton all leaving via free agency, we have some actual coin to spend this off-season
- With Frank's departure, we now have a place to put Barry Bonds!
1. Moises Alou: We got lucky with one aging slugger last year, we might be able to do it again next year. Alou, when heathly, is a proven all-around hitter with a career line of .301/.368/.516, which he by and large matched last year in his age 40 season, along with hitting 22 homers to boot.
Advantages: Right-handed, hits righties and lefties well, might want short-term contract and can play the outfield in a pinch.
Disadvantages: Might be pricey, might get hurt, might want to leave the Bay Area after a not-so-amicable split with the Giants.
2. Craig Wilson: The guys' got power. He's also in his theoritical prime at age 29-30. He's got an interesting career batting line of .265/.354/.480 while hitting lefties a lot better than righties. He is a "versatile" defender, which if you've seen him play translates to "not good enough to play ANY position regularly".
Advantages: Somewhat young, lots of power, might come cheap after getting overlooked after the trade to the Yankees.
Disadvantages: Really nothing to get excited about, but could be a decent fill-in.
3. Phil Nevin: Finally out from under his exorbitant contract, Nevin might come over as a bargain. Although he hit 22 homers last year, he hit a Crosby-like .239 overall and didn't break .330 with his OBP nor .450 with the slugging.
Advantages: Has some power, can play a passable first base.
Disadvantages: Really on the wrong side of 30, and not a huge amount of upside.
4. Mike Piazza: Keep him out from behind the plate, and the guy can still rake. He hit 22 homers last year in spacious Petco and has phenomenal career lines with high on-base numbers and slugging percentages. He slugged over .500 last year as well, so he's still got it.
Advantages: Great all-around hitter.
Disadvantages: Might still want to catch part-time, might get bigger offers elsewhere.
5. Nomar Garciaparra: Great hitter, great athlete, great guy. Nomar played really well both offensively and defensively last year for the Blue Crew, and played in his most games in two years.
Advantages: Can hit for power, average and get on base. Can play every infield position fairly well and might be able to transition to the outfield. Good clubhouse guy that might want to stay on the West Coast close to family.
Disadvantages: MAJOR injury risk and might get more money to stay in the NL.
Well, that's a precursory free agent list of some available guys that are proven right-handed power threats. Of course they won't be able to replace Frank in the lineup, in the batter's box or in our hearts, but we gotta move on.