So the Jays have gone ahead and eaten about $9 million by simply releasing Frank Thomas a day after benching him, apparently convinced that his recent 4-35 slump means that he is no longer the same player that he was last year, when he batted .277 and led the entire team with 26 HR and 94 RBI.
Well either that or they would rather eat $9 million now and get nothing than have to pay $19 million total including Thomas’s $10 million option for next year, which almost certainly would have vested if he had stayed with the Jays this year, since it only required 376 plate appearances to get locked in.
Actually, this decision is almost certainly more due to the latter reason. Which is a shame, because it seems like the Blue Jays are punishing Thomas for their bad decision to sign him to that deal, when he really wasn’t going to be in their plans.
The more one considers J.P. Riccardi’s track record as Blue Jays GM, the more one begins to wonder why he still has a job, as he never really seems to be able to figure out which direction he is headed, and this move is only the latest example.
Because looking at the numbers, Frank Thomas is almost certainly still the player he was last year, when he was a pretty valuable piece of the Blue Jays offense. His line-drive percentage is slightly down, but otherwise all of Thomas’s peripherials are right in line with last year, including his strikeout and walk rates, his pitches seen per plate appearance, his groundball rate, and his HR/flyball rate.
What is different this year is that his BABIP is at an unsustainably low .167. Given that Thomas posted a .377 OBP last season along with decent power, he should still be able to help an AL team in need of a DH, especially since he can probably be gotten for very cheap.
But given his age and the recent slump, and the fact that he can pretty much only DH, it is uncertain whether any other team will have room for him.
It would be really sad to see the future Hall-of-Famer have to go out like this, his great career uncelebrated and our final image of him being his getting rejected by the only team still playing in Canada.