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Report: Jays nearing deal with ThomasSources indicate veteran slugger could ink two-year dealBy Jordan Bastian / MLB.comThe Blue Jays may be on the verge of adding another powerful bat to its lineup. According to ESPN.com, Toronto is nearing a multi-year deal with free-agent slugger Frank Thomas that could be worth between $20 million-$30 million. According to the report, the deal with Thomas is contingent on him passing a physical.Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi could not be reached for comment. Another source within the organization told MLB.com that the report was more substantial than a rumor, but they would neither confirm nor deny that a deal had been reached.The Jays were rumored to be interested in Thomas last winter, when the 38-year-old DH signed an incentive-laden contract with Oakland after spending 16 years with the Chicago White Sox. Last season, Thomas had a base salary of $500,000 and made $2.6 million more after a strong year at the plate.The two-time American League Most Valuable Player bounced back from an ankle injury in 2006 and hit .270 with 39 home runs and 114 RBIs in 137 games. Thomas eclipsed 30 homers for the ninth time in his career and the 39 long balls were his most in a season since '03.Toronto doesn't currently have a solution for its DH role. The club traded DH Shea Hillenbrand in July and Frank Catalanotto, who split time between designated hitter and left field in the second half last year, is a free agent this winter. The Jays were considering using rookie Adam Lind as a DH next year if they couldn't fill the need this offseason.
Report: Thomas reaches two-year dealFree-agent slugger's contract contingent upon physicalBy Jordan Bastian / MLB.comThe Blue Jays have reportedly reached a two-year agreement with free-agent slugger Frank Thomas. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi declined comment when reached by phone Thursday evening, except to say that a formal announcement could be coming as early as Friday.An online report indicated that Toronto had indeed signed Thomas to a two-year deal worth $18 million that includes an option for 2009. According to the report, the 38-year-old slugger would make $10 million in 2007, $8 million in '08 and another $10 million in the option year. Ricciardi didn't comment on the figures. The contract is contingent on Thomas passing a physical.The Blue Jays have yet to announce their payroll for the upcoming season, but various reports have speculated that it could reach $95 million. Entering this offseason, Toronto's payroll was roughly $80 million, including about $12.5 million to spend on free agents.With Thomas on the roster, a payroll increase will be necessary to meet Ricciardi's other offseason goals. The Jays are also in the market for a starter, a middle infielder, a catcher and possibly some bullpen help.Toronto president and CEO Paul Godfrey told MLB.com on Thursday that the club was still working through the budget, but the Jays might be able to reveal their 2007 payroll "in the next 10 days or so." Once that's set, Toronto can realistically gauge if it can afford to bring back any of its own free agents: starter Ted Lilly, reliever Justin Speier and catchers Gregg Zaun and Bengie Molina.Outfielder Frank Catalanotto is also a free agent, but it seems highly unlikely that Toronto would re-sign him after picking up Thomas. Catalanotto prefers to play the outfield, but the Jays plan on using Reed Johnson in left. That means Catalanotto would have limited playing time in left field and as the DH with the Jays.Thomas would add another powerful bat to a lineup that already boasts Vernon Wells, Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay. That trio combined for 92 home runs and 302 RBIs last year, primarily out of the Nos. 3-5 spots in the order. Thomas, who was limited to 108 games between 2004-05 due to an ankle injury, would significantly upgrade Toronto's DH spot. Last season, the Jays tallied just 16 home runs from the five players who split that role.Last year, Thomas raised his career home-run total to 487 after he hit .270 with 39 homers and 114 RBIs for Oakland. The A's signed him to a contract with a base salary of $500,000 before last season, but Thomas made around $3 million in incentives. That contract ended the two-time American League Most Valuable Player's 16-year run with the White Sox.
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