CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago White Sox barely finished celebrating this World Series title before starting to retool for another run next year.

Frank Thomas exercised his $10 million option Monday, giving the team five days to decide whether to keep the best slugger in White Sox history or buy out the oft-injured designated hitter for $3.5 million.

Chicago also exercised its $1.2 million option on right-handed reliever Cliff Politte and declined an option on DH Carl Everett, giving him a $500,000 buyout.

Thomas, a two-time AL MVP who is the team’s career leader in virtually every offensive category, has spent his entire career with the White Sox and has said he wants to come back.

But the White Sox are expected to give him the buyout, and then negotiate another deal at a lower price.

Thomas has missed much of the last two years with foot and ankle problems. The 37-year-old only played two months this year, but he hit 12 homers in just 105 at-bats. He’s a career .307 hitter with 448 homers and 1,465 RBIs.

Politte was 7-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 68 appearances, and ranked fourth among AL relievers in ERA and opponents average (.181), and was tied for fourth in wins. The right-hander pitched in four postseason games, allowing one run in 3 1-3 innings.

Everett hit .251 with 23 home runs and 87 RBIs. The switch-hitter is a career .277 hitter with 191 homers and 759 RBIs in 13 seasons.

AP-ES-10-31-05 1634EST


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