NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Chicago White Sox declined their $10 million option on Frank Thomas on Friday buying out the slugger's contract for $3.5 million and making him a free agent.
The World Series champions are now free to negotiate a new deal for less money with their injury plagued designated hitter, who wants to finish his career in a White Sox uniform.
"There should be no question about the respect this organization has for Frank and all that he has helped us accomplish, including a World Series championship," said White Sox chairman Jerry Williams in a statement.
"He is the greatest hitter in White Sox history.
"At the same time, it is my responsibility to make the best decisions I can on behalf of the organization.
"Our plan now is to continue to speak with Frank and his representatives over the coming months as more information is known about his health."
Thomas played in just 34 games last season batting .219 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs.
He missed the start of the campaign after undergoing off-season ankle surgery and then was sidelined again with another season-ending ankle injury on July 21.
A two-time American League MVP, Thomas has spent his entire Major League career with the White Sox, posting a career batting average of .307, with 448 home runs, 1,465 RBIs and 1,466 walks.