Frank Thomas made it official today and picked up his option for the 2004 season. Frank will make 6 million this year and will have another option for $8 million next year. The Sox have a buyout option of 3.5 million after 2005, or they would be obligated to pay him $10m.
In all Thomas will be guaranteed 17.5 m over the next two years which I just about his fair market value. I think he could have done better that $6 million this year, but I’m not sure he could have approached the $9m per season it probably would have taken to get him to leave the Sox.
From the Sox point of view, I think it’s great the Big Hurt will be staying. I could care less if some people think he’s a jerk. Overall he seems to be a solid citizen which is more than you can say of a lot of professional athletes. If he continues to put up the kind of numbers he did this year (267/390/562), which I think he can, the Sox have a bargain.
Now the Sox need to hire a manager. Terry Francona was mentioned earlier but it looks like he’s no longer in the running. Wally Backman, who coaches for the Sox at the AA level was the early favorite. But he seems to have shot himself in the foot by lobbying for the job earlier this season. There’s also a rumor that he called Ron Gardenhire before the big Sox-Twins series and told him to beat the Sox so he could take over as manager. Who know if its true, but he's most likely a longshot at this point.
That leaves Cito Gaston and Ozzie Guillen. Gaston has a nice pedigree, winning two World Series titles with the Jays in the 90’s. Now, I don’t follow MLB close enough to tell you if he’s actually a good manager. But I have to think the Sox could do worse. As for Guillen, he’s certainly popular with the fan base. He was also one my favorite players. I have no idea if he would make a good manager, but I would love to see him back in a Sox uniform.
The Tribune reports that Guillen doesn't have much of a chance. So I'll have to go out on a limb and predict Guillen will be the next Sox manager.