They were able to get Thomas cheap last year, so I'm a slight bit surprised Beane is going to spend that much on a 1 dimensional player. But, at least he isn't hooked in for more than 1 year, so it's not like it could be a long term disaster like many of the contracts given during this off-season. And, this closes another door for Mr. Bonds. I know Pieman would hate it, but who wouldn't want to see Bonds playing for the Royals this upcoming season, if he were to play in the majors at all?
Plus the one dimension player really only needs the one dimension to be DH. I think it's a little pricey for Piazza but who knows, even though he was written off before last year he still hit 22 homeruns, just 2 behind most for a catcher. Who knows what he can put up playing a lot more often and not having to crouch all the time. Plus he said often last year that the good season last year had rejuvenated him. So much so that he was willing to move to DH to prolong his career another couple of years when previously it was thought he might hang up this year. Plus the A's saw what Frank did, he was the difference between them being the team that chokes every year to being the team that finally made the ALCS so I imagine they're pretty desperate to fill that role with somebody.
Selig covered this in his pre-ASG online chat. Wrap-up, with comments, can be found here. Personally, I don't see much of a need to tinker with the playoff spots. Four teams of four divisions would eliminate the wild card, but so what?