First reaction to this?
How about huh? Seems a bit out of character for J.P. Ricciardi to go after a plodding 38-year-old bopper coming off a rebound season that followed two years of big hurts.
But this is DH'ing we're talking about. Take care of your body, four or five ABs a night, a veritable rocking chair - so goes the theory, anyway.
|TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|Winfield: The elderest Jays DH.|
Frank Thomas will be 39 years old in May. Would that make him the oldest Blue Jays designated hitter? No - not yet, anyway. Using the Jays' all-time roster and baseball-reference.com, here's a list of the oldest Jays DH's, and how they managed (one omission, Dave Parker, came here at age 40 in '91 but really didn't play all that much, so I've left him off - anyone else I've missed, let me know):
Ron Fairly (39 in 1977) ... Played 58 games at DH, and a few more than that at 1B and OF. Batted .279 with 19 home runs, .465 slugging percentage.
Paul Molitor (38 in 1995) ... Still had three years left in the tank after this season, when he batted an ordinary (for him) .270 and slumped to a .350 OBP.
Al Oliver (38 in 1985) ... A valuable pickup in the middle of the Jays' first division-winning season, he batted .251 in his final big-league season.
Rico Carty (39 in 1979) ... He actually turned 40 at the end of this final big-league season, hit 12 HRs on a Jays team filled with kids.
Cliff Johnson (39 in 1986) ... Charles Oakley always reminded me of an NBA version of this guy. Had some good years here; 15 HRs and .250 BA.
Dave Winfield (40 in 1992) ... Slugged .491, drove in over 100 runs - the erstwhile Mr. May/seagull killer turned 41 in October, a few weeks before the Jays' first (and his only) World Series title. Pretty good pickup, no?