Tag: Matt Thornton

New York Yankees Reach Deal with Reliever Matt Thornton

The New York Yankees officially reached an agreement with lefty reliever Matt Thornton Friday afternoon.  

Jack Curry of the YES Network first reported the agreement, which is for two years and $7 million, on December 17.  

The 37-year-old pitched to a combined 3.74 ERA with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox in 2013.  He has spent ten seasons in the major leagues, compiling a 32-42 record with a 3.53 ERA.

With the retirement of closer Mariano Rivera and the departure of both Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan in free agency, the Yankees were left short-handed in the bullpen.  

There is speculation that right-handed setup man David Robertson will step into the closer role in 2014 for the Yankees.  While it is not clear who the new setup man will be, the Yankees will have another reliable reliever in Thornton.  

According to the Yankees depth chart, the two most experienced relievers after Robertson are Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne.  Kelley has pitched in 177 total major league games in his career, while Claiborne has pitched in just 44.  

With Thornton’s experience and mastery of left-handed batters, the Yankees will have a go-to guy in their bullpen for the late innings of ballgames.  

Thornton is the only major leaguer to make at least 55 appearances in each of the last nine seasons.  

Thornton has also proven to be a reliable reliever every season since he came up in 2004.  

While his ERA has been on the rise over the last three seasons, he continues to be dominant against left-handed batters, who owned a .235 batting average against him last season.

Pitching has become the main focus for the Yankees to improve on before the season begins. The organization has already bolstered its lineup with the acquisitions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran earlier in the offseason.  

While the Yankees are preparing to meet with starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, general manager Brian Cashman still needs to be aware of the lack of experienced arms in the bullpen.  

 The signing of Thornton Friday is the first step toward revamping the bullpen that was so strong for the Yankees last season.  

 *Statistics Courtesy of Baseball Reference


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Matt Thornton and New York Yankees Reportedly Agree on 2-Year Contract

The New York Yankees have reportedly come to terms on a two-year deal with relief pitcher Matt Thornton.

According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, Thornton will make $7 million over the life of the contract.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that Thornton will have to pass a physical:

This move bolsters the Yankees bullpen with another veteran arm, although one that has noticeably declined in recent years.   

As per Yankees beat writer Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal, Thornton has lost some zip on his fastball:

Jason Collette, a baseball writer for Fangraphs, Rotowire and other publications, pointed out that some of Thornton’s advanced stats look troubling:

Regardless, the Bronx Bombers needed some depth in the pen and have to be hoping that Thornton improves his game while playing in pinstripes.

The left-hander hit free agency after winning a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, although he wasn’t active for their postseason run.

He is the second player to defect from the current champions to their American League East rivals, joining center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who signed a massive seven-year, $153 million deal on Dec. 7. Manager Joe Girardi recently talked about the addition of Ellsbury, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

I think we’ve acquired a great player. We’ve seen the damage he can do against us. We firsthand witnessed how he can change a game. I’ve seen him hit home runs to beat us. I’ve seen him steal home to beat us. I’ve seen him do it all, make great catches. So we added a great player.

Prior to his short stint in Beantown, Thornton played most of his nine-year career with the Chicago White Sox. He was traded in July in exchange for outfield prospect Brandon Jacobs and cash considerations.

He broke into the majors back in 2004 as a member of the Seattle Mariners and pitched there until Chicago acquired him via trade in 2006.

The 37-year-old compiled a 3.74 ERA with 30 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP in 60 appearances in 2013, 20 with the Red Sox and 40 with the White Sox.

It will be interesting to see if Girardi can find more use for Thornton than Red Sox skipper John Farrell could when the pressure was on.

He was regarded as a top left-handed reliever in all of baseball for much of the past decade and may be able to jump-start his career in the Big Apple.

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Chicago White Sox Trade: Matt Thornton to the Red Sox, Impact and Analysis

The Chicago White Sox have traded left-handed reliever Matt Thornton and cash to the Boston Red Sox for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs.

The White Sox announced the move via their official Twitter feed.

Jacobs—the 318th pick of the 2009 draft—is a power-hitting outfielder who has trouble taking pitches outside of the strike zone. He has already struck out 90 times in 297 at-bats while playing for both Single- and Double-A. His defense is not to be questioned, and he is more than capable on the basepaths.

To be sure, Jacobs has all of the tools, but if that sounds familiar, it should.

The White Sox already have four of them—Trayce Thompson, Jared Mitchell, Courtney Hawkins and Keenyn Walker—occupying space down in the minor leagues.

Due to the general struggles of the aforementioned quartet, trading for another player of similar ilk is a bit curious. A left-handed outfielder who projects as a leadoff hitter would seem to have made more sense.

Rick Hahn, for one, liked what he saw, though.

More than likely, Jacobs will report to the Double-A Birmingham Barons when he arrives.

Now to the impact the move has on the White Sox bullpen.

David Purcey—0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2 K, 3 BB, 2.0 IP—will stay on the 25-man roster for the remainder of the season, assuming he does not implode, of course.

Hahn should go in a different direction with the second left-hander and bring up Santos Rodriguez, not Donnie Veal like the White Sox announced they are doing.

Rodriguez was exceptional at Double-A before earning a promotion to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights last week. And while he has been battered since being promoted—0-0, 7.88 ERA, 8 K, 7 BB, 8.0 IP—the White Sox need to see what they have as they plan for the 2014 season.

Bringing up a pitcher, like Veal, who has already been with the Sox this year is a mistake.

This is the first in what is sure to be a long line of trades Hahn will make in the coming weeks.

It would appear the first-year general manager recognizes the weaknesses in the minor leagues. Outfield is a definite area of need for the White Sox, and while Jacobs will prove himself one way or the other, it looks like Hahn just got more of the same.

With the way things have been going on the South Side, however, are we too expect anything else?

This post will be updated as more information surfaces.


Follow @MatthewSmithBR

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Matt Thornton Trade Shows Chicago White Sox’s Fire Sale Has Officially Begun

The Chicago White Sox made their first of many moves before the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline, dealing reliever Matt Thornton to the Boston Red Sox.

The ChiSox sit 13.5 games back in the AL Central at 36-53, and the team is about to have its own fire sale, dealing its current pieces for future ones.

The White Sox received outfield prospect Brandon Jacobs and cash in the deal, according to Bill Baer of NBC Sports, proving that the team wants to dump salary and get young prospects.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the team has said that everyone is available via trade except ace Chris Sale and first baseman Paul Konerko.

The White Sox made it clear that they wanted to move some pieces around when that news broke on June 27. However, 14 days later Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports said that he expects Sale to also be moved before the deadline, which would mean that the White Sox are even more willing to trade than first expected.

Dealing Sale would be huge for the team, as he would easily be the best pitching option available and would bring in a few elite prospects, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Matt Garza is an oft-injured rental. Yovani Gallardo has a 4.85 ERA. Kyle Lohse is 35, Bud Norris has never pitched for a contender, and Joe Saunders is, well, Joe Saunders.

David Price isn’t out there. Cliff Lee isn’t out there. No ace is out there. Some smart team is going to exploit the shortfall by putting a top-of-the-rotation starter in play.

Other guys who should be on the move include outfielder Alex Rios, pitcher Jake Peavy, shortstop Alexei Ramirez, reliever Jesse Crain and DH Adam Dunn.

The White Sox have a bit of aging talent, but new GM Rick Hahn apparently wants to blow everything up before starting from scratch. If that is, in fact, his end goal, Hahn should reconsider not trading Konerko, as the 37-year-old isn‘t going to be with the team for a long time and could potentially warrant a good prospect in a trade once he comes off the DL.

This team looks to be the biggest seller in baseball this year, and fans shouldn’t be surprised to see another seven or eight trades being made by the ChiSox over the few two weeks.

The White Sox have put the MLB on notice that they are open for business, and it all began on Friday.

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MLB Power Rankings: Identifying the Top 40 Late-Round Fantasy Draft Steals

In all likelihood, Bud Selig won’t be hosting your fantasy baseball draft this year—but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal. You probably wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t in it to win it, and while it’s tough to win a league if your top picks don’t deliver, the best way to truly separate yourself from your fantasy league opponents is by nabbing some late-round value picks. 

The key to uncovering late-round draft day steals is to get a sense of what types of players tend to be undervalued in the fantasy marketplace. 

As I’ve detailed elsewhere, in reasonably shallow leagues sometimes it is the injury-prone player who can dramatically outproduce his draft slot while healthy.  Sometimes it is the former superstar many managers wrongly assume is now washed up.  Sometimes it is the famed “post-hype sleeper,” a relatively young player who did not initially live up to the hype but still possesses the talent that made them a touted prospect in the first place.  Sometimes it’s a player whose consistent production year after year is routinely under-appreciated, perhaps because the player isn’t “flashy” enough. 

For our purposes, “late-round” steals will only include players who are going in the 15th round or later (pick 169 onward) in 12-team standard leagues, according to either Mock Draft Central or Yahoo average draft position data.

On to the list we go.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: AL Closer Cheat Sheet To Help You Dominate Your Draft

As fantasy baseball drafts quickly approach, I thought it would be helpful to provide a quick reference cheat sheet for closers.

Remember, don’t take a closer too early, as there is value to be had late in drafts.


AL East


The addition of Rafael Soriano to the Yankee bullpen has some wondering if Mariano Rivera’s days in pinstripes are numbered. After all, the Hall of Fame closer is 41 years old and could be running out of gas.

The Tampa Bay Rays have yet to announce a replacement for Rafael Soriano; however, we anticipate that newly acquired Kyle Farnsworth will be given that role on opening day. Farnsworth is somewhat of a head case and may be a risky choice. Buyer beware.

The Blue Jays may also begin the year with a new closer, as Frank Francisco was acquired via trade from the Rangers. 

For those looking for a value pick this season, Kevin Gregg is a decent closer who will pitch for an improved Baltimore team in 2011.

The Orioles lack the starting pitching required to compete for the AL East crown; however, their offense should keep the team in games while giving Gregg a number of save opportunities.





AL West


There has been some speculation that Mike Maddux and Ron Washington want to move Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation. The trade of Frank Francisco to the Blue Jays limits the team’s depth in the pen, leading us to believe that Feliz will be the closer this season.

Although the A’s acquired veteran closer Brian Fuentes this off-season, the club will likely continue to use Andrew Bailey as their closer. Bailey had a superb 2010 season in which he posted 25 saves and a 1.47 ERA.

Fernando Rodney will likely be the Angels closer this season, despite a poor 2010 campaign where he had an ERA of 4.24 and a pedestrian strikeout per nine of only 7.0. To excel at closing, it is helpful to be able to strike out a batter when a tough out is needed.



AL Central


The top closer in the AL Central is on arguably the worst team. Joakim Soria has a career ERA of 2.01 and delivered three straight 30-plus save seasons for the lowly Royals. Draft him with confidence this season as he has been the model of consistency throughout his young career.

Matt Capps is currently listed as the closer on the Twins official website; however, we have a gut feeling that Joe Nathan will regain his role as the closer this season. Nathan was solid as the team’s closer prior to his injury last season.

Our sleeper closer for the AL Central is the 6-foot-6 Matt Thornton. He has excellent stuff, and will get numerous opportunities for an improved White Sox club. We are picking the White Sox to win the Central and believe Thornton will log 30 saves this season.


Check out my NL Closer List Here.


This article was originally published on www.kramericasports.com, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice.

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Chicago White Sox: Breaking Down the 2011 Bullpen

The loss of the White Sox Legend Bobby Jenks probably hurt millions of White Sox fans around the nation.  Seeing the stout, bearded man who constantly had to wipe the sweat off his face was a marquee since the White Sox hoisted the World Series trophy in 2005. 

Fortunately, a couple other young guns finally have the opportunity to take over Jenks’ role and prove that they can bring the South Siders back to the top of the AL Central. 

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Chicago White Sox: Coming in To Close for the Sox Is…

Reading the latest news around Major League Baseball, I saw a Chicago Tribune article that says that manager Ozzie Guillen wants to name one closer between Chris Sale or Matt Thornton since Bobby Jenks departed for Boston and switched his Sox.

Chris Sale is a flame-throwing pitcher that came onto the scene last year for the White Sox. Sale was taken as the 13th pick in last season’s amateur draft and appeared in 21 games for the Sox gathering four saves and a 1.93 ERA.

Matt Thornton has been a bullpen guy for the White Sox for the past five seasons. Last year, Thornton had eight saves in 61 games for Chicago.

Who’s better suited for the job?

If you haven’t known, the White Sox are leaning towards making Chris Sale a starter in the future. Sale had some success in college at Florida Gulf Coast before joining Chicago. If anything happens to Jake Peavy or any other Sox starter, I’ll bet you Sale will be immediately place in the rotation.

That being said, Thornton is probably more suitable since you know he’s a bullpen guy and you’re probably not going to keep switching him from the rotation and back. 

If anything, Thornton will turn out to probably share the closer role with Sale, but get more appearances. If he fails, newly acquired Jesse Crain or Will Ohman could help. 

In 71 games for the Twins last season, Crain had an ERA of 3.04 and had only one save while Joe Nathan sat all season and Jon Rauch took over closer duties. Will Ohman split time between Baltimore and Florida and carried a 3.21 ERA in 68 games and did not record a save.

Barring the completely insane, Ohman would be a specialist and Crain would be a setup man this season.

What about you White Sox fans? Who will be the closer starting the 2011 season?

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MLB Awards 2010: B/R’s AL Relief Man of the Year: Tampa Bay Rays’ Rafael Soriano

Every year, managers, coaches and writers from around Major League Baseball award honors and trophies to the players—and every year, they screw up.

So Bleacher Report’s Featured Columnists decided to do it ourselves. Instead of just complaining about the awards as they are announced as we would normally do on our own, we teamed up to hold our own mock awards vote.

On Monday, we kicked off Week 2 of our four-week-long results series with our picks for AL Comeback Player of the Year, then we followed that up yesterday with their counterparts in the NL. Today, we look at the best relievers in the American League.

The top five vote-getters are featured here with commentary from people who chose them. The full list of votes is at the end.

So read on, see how we did and be sure to let us know what we got wrong!

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White Sox Reliever Matt Thornton Out With Injured Arm

The Chicago White Sox setup man and part time closer Matt Thornton has been shut down with a forearm injury.

“I’m not concerned with my overall health,” Thornton said. “I’m concerned about missing some time is what I’m concerned about.”

According to Thornton he’s been able to “warm-up through” the forearm pain all year, but now the pain has become too much. “Now warming up has turned into some pretty good soreness. I’ve got to take a step back”

This couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Sox. Going into today’s game Tony Pena is unavailable because he threw 90+ pitches, Thornton is unavailable because of injury, and J.J Putz has a bad knee.

That means the Sox only have an ineffective Bobby Jenks, an even more ineffective Scott Linebrink, and 21-year-old Chris Sale.

Oy vey.

Depending on Thornton’s condition, the Sox will be forced to make some kind of move to bring up a relief pitcher. On the bright side, September 1 is right around the corner and that means expanded rosters. However, by September 1 the Sox might not still be in playoff contention if their pitching doesn’t turn it around.

All year it has been the Twins and Sox 1-2 in bullpen ERA in the AL. Now the Twins have started to pull away as the top bullpen as the Sox are struggling.

Matt Thornton going down may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Or it might be the point in the season where someone else in the pen steps up.

Side Note: The Sox team ERA is ninth in the AL for August. Conversely it’s their hitting that’s carrying the team. The South Siders lead the AL in batting average and runs, and are third in homers for August. Who would have thought that a lineup that routinely has Mark Kotsay in it could ever be clicking offensively. Not me.

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