ANAHEIM -- General manager Bill Bavasi said Sunday morning that he would talk to the organization's scouts who watched Frank Thomas during Spring Training before making a decision on whether to pursue the 39-year-old slugger, released by the Blue Jays earlier in the day. "I didn't see him play this spring," Bavasi said. "But tonight or tomorrow, I will talk to our scouts that did." Bavasi wouldn't tip his hand one way or the other regarding his interest in Thomas.
"We can talk to the player, but we can't talk about salary until after the waiver period ends," he said. "But I will say this: we are concentrating more on the 25 players we have here." Once the 48-hour waiver period ends, any MLB club can sign Thomas for the pro-rated minimum. Under the terms of the two-year deal Thomas inked with Toronto prior to last season, he would have been guaranteed a $10 million salary for 2009 by reaching 1,000 plate appearances between the 2007-08 campaigns. Thomas needed 304 more plate appearances this season for that option to vest. Thomas -- one of the most productive designated hitters in the American League last season with a .277 batting average, 26 home runs and 95 RBIs -- had gotten off to a slow start in '08. Through his first 16 games, the Big Hurt was batting .167 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Exactly how the Mariners would make Thomas fit is unclear. Switch-hitter Jose Vidro has handled most of the DH chores the past two seasons. After a solid 2007 season, when he batted .314 with six home runs and 59 RBIs, he went into Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Angels with a .221 batting average, two home runs and 10 RBIs. Mariners manager John McLaren said he first learned about Thomas' departure from the Blue Jays "on my computer this morning," and couldn't comment further on the situation because "I don't know the circumstances. "He has been a big-time hitter for a long time."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.