OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Big Hurt is coming back to the Bay Area. The Oakland Athletics agreed to terms with designated hitter Frank Thomas, who was released Sunday by the Toronto Blue Jays to become a free agent after becoming disgruntled about his playing time.
Oakland will be on the hook only for about $337,000 -- a prorated share of the $390,000 minimum -- so this move was a bargain for general manager Billy Beane and a club looking to boost its power numbers.
To clear roster room, the A's placed outfielder Travis Buck on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19 with shin splints and transferred six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez to the 60-day disabled list.
The 39-year-old Thomas, who will get the vast majority of his $8 million salary this year from the Blue Jays, is hitless in his past 13 at-bats and had gone 4-for-35 since homering in three straight games April 5-8. Known as a slow starter, he batted .167 with three homers and 11 RBIs for Toronto this year.
He left Oakland after the A's 2006 AL championship series season, signing a $18.12 million, two-year contract with Toronto.
Thomas remade himself with the small-market A's, and his paycheck wasn't as small as it looked coming into the year. He signed an incentive-laden one-year deal for $500,000, but earned all $2.6 million of his possible bonuses based on plate appearances and keeping his troublesome left foot healthy.
In 2006, he batted .270 with a team-leading 39 home runs and 114 RBIs in 137 games after missing all but 108 games the previous two seasons with the Chicago White Sox because of injury.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press