Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Master of the Obvious
Sometimes, you wonder how columnists get and/or keep their jobs as columnists. You had to be shaking your head about that question if you read Greg Couch's column in today's Sun-Times.
The premise of his article - stated in the headline - is that the Sox should bring back Frank Thomas "with the right deal." This is maybe one of the most obvious things ever stated in a major market newspaper. Of course Frank Thomas should be brought back with "the right deal." With the right deal, anyone should be brought onto the White Sox. If the Sox were able to put together the right deal for Albert Pujols - say, the Cardinals only want Ross Gload- they should get Ross Gload. The right deal and the real deal are two different things.
Couch goes on to suggest that the Sox would be right to offer Thomas $6.5 million - $3.5 million for his buy-out and $3 million in 2006 salary. He then suggests that other teams would not want to match the $6.5 million. However, that's not what Thomas's agent thinks. His agent will think the $3.5 million is in the bank - if he can get $4.0 million from another team, then that will be better than Couch's phantom $6.5 million. It would be $7.5 million, $3.5 million of which will be paid by the White Sox.
Most Sox fans want Frank Thomas back. I am included in that group. And I think Frank, from all that he says, will want to come back. He is a DH-only player at this point, and his options are limited by that. Given that the big-spending teams in the AL have their DH positions set (Yankees- Giambi, Boston- Ortiz), I don't see a huge market for Thomas's services. He can probably be had for an incentive-laden contract. And if he's healthy, he'll put together a Frank-Thomas-like season, I'm sure. He'll walk a bunch and hit a bunch of homers. His average might suffer, but it's likely that he will be a massive improvement over Carl Everett, who ran about as well as Thomas last year.
The problem is that Thomas will not solve the Sox's major offensive deficiency - the lack of left-handed power. If Thomas DH-es 140 games, the only lefties in the Sox lineup will be Podsednik and Pierzynski, which will seriously expose the Sox to good right handed pitching.