Blue Jays lock up Thomas
The Toronto Blue Jays added a big bat to their lineup Friday by signing veteran slugger Frank Thomas to two-year deal worth $18 million US.
The contract includes a $10-million option for the 2009 season.
Thomas, 38,spent the 2006 season with the Oakland A's, batting .270 with 39 homers and 114 RBIs.
The contract with the Jays represents a mammoth raise for the injury-prone designated hitter. Last season, he was paid $500,000 in base salary, but pocketed $2.6 million in performance bonuses.
He will serve as Toronto's DH, filling a void left by Shea Hillenbrand, who was traded July 22 to the San Francisco Giants following a dugout dust-up with Toronto manager John Gibbons.
Thomas will hit fourth or fifth in a powerful batting lineup already boasting Vernon Wells, Troy Glaus, Lyle Overbay and Alex Rios.
Thomas was limited by stress fractures in his left ankle to 74 games in 2004 and 34 games in 2005, when he hit just .219 with 12 HRs, 26 RBIs and 19 runs for the World Series champion Chicago White Sox.
When Chicago opted not to offer him salary arbitration, he signed with Oakland on Jan. 25.
Thomas is a five-time all-star, a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner and two-time most valuable player in the American League (1993-94).
In 17 seasons in the majors, Thomas has hit .305 with 458 doubles, 487 home runs and 1,579 RBIs.
With files from Canadian Press