From the AP / TSN :

The Toronto Blue Jays, starting to reshape their roster for the 2007 season, are on the verge of signing veteran slugger Frank Thomas to a two-year deal.

A source close to the talks said late Wednesday night that an agreement was near with only the final details remaining to be ironed out. Reports suggest the contract could be worth US$20 million and contain an option for 2009.

Barring any last-minute setbacks, the addition of Thomas gives the Blue Jays another major dose of thump in what was an already potent lineup. His presence in the batting order could also mean they can sacrifice some offence for defence while filling their needs for a shortstop and catcher.

It’s unclear how much the signing eats into their payroll for next season or how much general manager J.P. Ricciardi has left to spend. The club is expected to have somewhere between $85-$95 million for player salaries in 2007, with $10-$20 million of that available to spend.

Thomas would be a significant upgrade at DH for the Blue Jays, who used Shea Hillenbrand and a series of other players in the role. Toronto tied for 12th among American League teams last season with just 16 home runs from its DH spot.

Athletics Nation, having already noted the Rangers’ pursuit of Thomas, opines,

Many of us here on AN, including myself, are hoping this is part of a play for leverage, and not a real desire on Frank’s part to either leave town or put on a white and blue jersey to hit bombs in the Rogers Centre.

Deposed Marlins skipper-turned-YES-man Joe Girardi was named the NL Manager Of The Year earlier today, with Jim Leyland picking up the junior circuit’s honors.

Amidst all the D-Mat Mania, you might’ve missed the news that Tampa Bay has won the bidding for the negotiating rights to Yakult Swallows 3B Akinori Iwamura, as acknowledged by The Griddle’s Bob Timmerman.