Monday, April 21, 2008

Hurts to say goodbye

With the benefit of a little time and a little sleep, we're starting to wrap our head around the sudden release of Frank Thomas.

Whatever happens this year or even next, this transaction is going to be a topic of discussion any time the Jays start to struggle, much in the same way that the Shea Hillenbrand, Ted Lilly and Reed Johnson blowouts keep coming out amongst post-game show callers.

When things are going well, it will be forgotten that the Jays managed to rid themselves of what had become a black hole in their lineup. When they lose, the state of the franchise will be called into question, J.P. will be labeled a blundering caustic fool, and Pat Gillick's name will be brought up with reverence.

The hard truth about this is that the signing of Thomas was a reach from the get-go, and to say he has been terrible since March this year would be an understatement. Thomas was growling and grunting at umpires for calling the outside strike on him, but in truth, he wasn't able to get to those pitches anyways.

Moreover, he was able to do anything with pitches inside, so he had become a one-dimensional slugging machine who wasn't able to hit much other than mistake pitches over the heart of the plate. All three of his homers and all 11 of his RsBI came off relievers, and marginal relievers at that. The Jays couldn't continue to pencil his name into the lineup (in the five slot or the eight spot or whatever) if he wasn't going to be able to produce in his first two or three at bats in any given game.

Maybe Thomas catches on somewhere, and maybe he pulls his stuff together. But as an asset that was producing diminishing returns, the Jays made the right call to move on now.

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