Thomas' Agents Balk And Walk

White Sox's Frank Thomas watches his home run sail out of the park. tigers
The fallout from Frank Thomas' boycott goes on.

Thomas' agents quit Wednesday night in response to his six-day boycott of the Chicago White Sox spring camp.

"It was an unfair situation for them," Thomas said Thursday. "They'd just came aboard, weren't abreast about everything. ... They had nothing to do with what went on last week. That was a personal decision."

Thomas, runner-up for the AL MVP last season, left camp March 21 because he was unhappy with some of the terms of his contract, particularly the "diminished skills" clause. Though his contract calls for him to receive $9,927,000 in each of the next six seasons

with $3,827,000 a year deferred with interest only this year is truly guaranteed.

If he fails to become an All-Star, win a Silver Slugger or finish among the top 10 in MVP voting, the White Sox can revise the deal and pay him only $250,000, plus $10,125,000 deferred. If that happens and the White Sox don't have to invoke the clause Thomas could terminate the contract and become a free agent.

In a statement, agents Scott Sanderson and Mike Moye said they were quitting because they had a difference of opinion with Thomas.

"From the beginning of our involvement with Frank this offseason, we have consistently advised him to honor his contract, perform to the best of his abilities on the field and address any issues he might have with the White Sox privately," the agents said.

"Based on recent discussions with Frank, we have concluded that we have divergent views on certain principles that we believe are fundamental in the representation of our clients."

Thomas, who returned to the White Sox on Tuesday - the mandatory reporting date - said he understood the decision.

"They're good friends and that's just the way it is," he said. "They have some younger clients and they're leaning more in that direction."

Robert Fraley, Thomas' good friend and his agent when he signed his long-term extension in 1997, was killed in the Oct. 25, 1999, plane crash that also killed golfer Payne Stewart. Thomas was unrepresented until November, when he hired Moye and Sanderson.

Moye used to work with Fraley.

"I thought I needed some guidance, but as it worked out, in my type of situation, it's really hard to bring someone in with something that's existing," Thomas said.

Thomas said he doesn't plan to hire new agents. His current contract has six years left, and he'll be 38 when it ends.

"When you've got a past with an organization and you're comfortable with the owner and the general manager, it's easier to get things done without that middle man," he said.

Thomas has yet to face live pitching ths spring, and won't be ready for game action until the middle of next week.

"I'm still a couple of days behind," he said. "A couple more live bullpens, get used to the speed of the ball, then I'll be fine."

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