Dear Dad: You Were Right About Frank Thomas in 2006

Al Bello

The Twins had a rough year in 2005. The pitching staff allowed just 662 runs, but the offense scored just 688. While Torii Hunter was hitting well enough, he stuck a spike into the center field wall in Boston and lost the last third of the season. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jacque Jones, Lew Ford, Shannon Stewart, and even Jason Bartlett and Michael Cuddyer put forward numbers that were a little to much worse than we might have expected.

So when the off-season began, the goals were clear: find some offense. Terry Ryan and the Twins didn't have a great deal of resources with which to work, but there were options. Hank Blalock was on the market thanks to a down season; Nomar Garciaparra and Mike Piazza were looking for jobs and the Twins had spoken to both players.

One other player on Minnesota's radar was the 37-year old Frank Thomas. Thomas, in 2005, played in just 34 games and hit .219/.315/.590. He'd played in just 74 games in 2004, so it was getting to the point where, because of his hulking form, it was thought that perhaps Thomas' body was breaking down. Chicago signed Jim Thome, and that signaled the end of The Big Hurt's tenure with the White Sox.

Here's what I had to say about Thomas at the time:

"Someone I was never that hot on, the Thomas Talk has begun to cool dramatically. He'll be 38 in May and has averaged only 86 games per year since 2001. At age 35 he hit 35 homers in 153 games, but by the time the season starts he'll be nearly 3 years removed from that feat and can't be counted on to be a consistent presence in the lineup.

Additionally, it's been rumored that Oakland is close to offering Thomas specific dollar amounts, something that Minnesota isn't close to doing. Speaking of dealing with Frank Thomas, Ryan has said "We're not even talking about dollars or offers yet." If the Twins were seriously interested in Frank, and I certainly hope they weren't, they would have at least had semi-serious discussions involving contract talks.

Go to Oakland, Mr. Thomas. Enjoy your twighlight, and be sure to bring your spare parts with you."

By now you know, Thomas signed for $500,000 and hit .270/.381/.545 in 559 plate appearances for the A's. That included 39 home runs and 114 runs batted in.

Minnesota, meanwhile, agreed that Thomas wasn't in their best interest and, instead, signed Rondell White to a two-year, $5,000,000 contract. White was three years younger than Thomas and hit .313/.348/.489 in 2005. It looked like a smart decision.

By now you also know that Rondell White hit .229/266/.354 in two miserable seasons with the Twins. You know who always had the right answer, in spite of all of the numbers and effects of time on an athlete's body? My dad.

In the same post referenced above, the second comment on the post belongs to me. My comment is, and I quote:

...we just need to convince my father Thomas isn't the right answer.
C'mon, dad, you know it's wrong..."

I had totally forgotten that I was against Thomas at the time. And that my dad was right. It's probably time I acknowledge that, for one time, he was absolutely on the money.

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