Frank Thomas stays with White Sox

CHICAGO, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- After testing the free agent waters and finding little interest, two-time former Most Valuable Player Frank Thomas agreed to a one-year contract Friday with three mutual options.

Financial terms were not disclosed.


The oft-disgruntled first baseman spent his first 13 seasons with the White Sox, but on Oct. 28 opted to exercise his right to become a free agent. Thomas' decision came after Chicago invoked a diminishing skills clause in his contract that enabled them to defer nearly all of the $40 million remaining over the last four years of his contract.

Thomas earned $9.9 million in 2002, his third disappointing campaign in his last four, but in a very dormant offseason for free agents, he had few options.

"There was one National League team and I'd say four American League teams that we had discussions with," said Arn Tellem, Thomas' agent. "I would say we had three (lengthy) discussions but at the end of the day this was the best situation for a number of reasons."

Thomas' new deal replaces his old one and, after the 2003 season, carries with it three options that allow both he and the White Sox to escape the deal. The deal also includes a limited trade clause and award bonuses.


Thomas has faced criticism from teammates, the media and team management in the past but remains the productive offensive player in club history.

"I think Frank and Kenny have a good relationship, a very professional relationship," Tellem said. "As with any relationship there are times where there are disagreements. Now that this issue is resolved I think they are linked together and looking toward the future."

"We have never lost sight of what Frank Thomas has meant to this organization over the past 13 seasons and we are pleased to have reached this agreement," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said.

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