Matt Thornton, White Sox Agree To Extension

The White Sox and Matt Thornton have agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension with an option for a third year, according to a team release. The deal will pay Thornton $5.5MM annually in 2012 and 2013, while the club option for 2014 is worth $6MM ($1MM buyout). The contract will not affect Thornton's 2011 salary, as the Sox exercised their $3MM option in the fall.

Thornton, who is represented by Diamond Sports Management, has spent the last five seasons in Chicago, emerging as one of the top left-handed relievers in the game. The 34-year-old has recorded a 3.19 ERA and 10.1 K/9 in 336 appearances with the White Sox, and earned his first All-Star berth in 2010. Thornton is viewed as a front-runner to replace Bobby Jenks as the team's closer this season, with Chris Sale, Sergio Santos, and Jesse Crain also potentially in the mix.

The $12MM price tag for Thornton seems about right, considering how much American League teams have paid for southpaws in recent years. A year ago, the Orioles signed Mike Gonzalez to a two-year, $12MM contract, while this winter Brian Fuentes received a two-year, $10.5MM guarantee from the Athletics and the Angels locked up Scott Downs for three years and $15MM. Of course, those three lefties head into 2011 as setup men, so if Thornton ends up in closing in Chicago, his contract has the potential to be a bargain.

28 Responses to Matt Thornton, White Sox Agree To Extension Leave a Reply

  1. That’s not a bad deal. Relievers get paid too much money, but there are very few relievers are more consistent than Thornton.

    • booyahtastic 4 years ago

      I agree, not a bad deal for a guy who could become a very solid closer (assuming of course that he is closing games for the Sox)

      • jwsox 4 years ago

        even if he stays as a set up(one of the best in the league) its still a damn good deal

    • JKGocha 4 years ago

      Thornton is way too old, hes already 35 and to lock him up for 2 years for that price seems like a little over paying.

      • The_Silver_Stacker 4 years ago

        There are not too many quality hard throwing lefty relievers in the league. There is a price to be paid for that.

  2. Good deal. I think this seals it, he’s the closer. Good luck to all involved.

  3. foxtown 4 years ago

    Nicely done! Very few relievers perform at a high level as consistently as Thornton.

  4. bobbybaseball 4 years ago

    I wonder if there are incentives for closing games in the contract. Because if he closes and is successful this will be a more than fair price for the Sox going forward. Look at what Affeldt makes in SF and he doesn’t even close games.

  5. 0vercast 4 years ago

    What a bargain!

  6. kimofromkauai 4 years ago

    This seems like a poor deal for the Sox unless Thornton is going to close. Non closing relief pitchers are one group that are so inconsistent they should seldom be given multi year contracts. In fact, most pitchers should go year to year. Pay them when they perform, non tender them when they don’t.

    • In a perfect world, this would be the case, but I think we’re a ways off from then.

    • jwsox 4 years ago

      How is a 3 year 16 mill deal(if the option is picked up) a poor deal. Since coming to the white sox he has turned into one of if not the best left handed reliever who straight dOminates lefties and gets righties out too even if he remains set up it’s a great deal. With him, Crain, ohman, Santos(not yet arb elligable and assuming sale moves to the rotation next season) this is a strong pen that the sox do not need to really worry about the major parts for a few years now

      • kimofromkauai 4 years ago

        remember Scott Linebrink? That is how multi year deals to non closers can go bad from the White Sox perspective.

        • jwsox 4 years ago

          first off linebrinkn signed a bigger deal worht more money….secondly his main pitch was a split finger which puts a ton of stress on the arm which is why after he got hurt he was never the same again. The only reason linebrink was bad for the sox the past 2 years was because he never was the same after the injury.

          Also many many many teams give out multi-year deals to non closers. Just because you are not a closer does not mean a team would not want to keep you around. Also 5 mill a season is hardly closer money. The new deal does not affect his 2011 salary which is 3 mill so he is only getting a 2 mill raise. He would for sure get more money on the open market. He is easily the best left handed reliever playing right now and he is one of it not the best set up guy in the game. And set up can be just as important as closer depending on how the lineup turns.

          Also he is more than likely going to be the closer unless he is bad at it and either sale or santos take the spot over from him. And a 3 mill for 2011, 5 mill for 2012, 5 mill for 2013 and potentially 6 mill in 2014 thats a bargain for a left handed closer let alone a closer in general who has a good of a pitching track record as thronton does with the sox.

          And i like how you could only come up with one truly bad contract to show bad multiyear non-closer deals for the sox…remember or 07 when linebrink was healthy and throwing gas with pin point accuracy the sox had one of the best pens in the game that year then he got hurt and could not pitch as effectivly…

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            He would for sure get more money on the open market.

            you certainly can’t say this without having seen 2011 yet. and if you meant if he were on the market this offseason, that doesn’t matter because he wasn’t. it’s not like they’re extending a young player here

            He is easily the best left handed reliever playing right now

            kuo is still better and wagner was too

            And i like how you could only come up with one truly bad contract to show bad multiyear non-closer deals

            Danys Baez (2007-2009), 3 years, $19 million: -0.4 WAR
            Justin Speier (2007-2010), 4 years, $18 million: -0.2 WAR
            Jamie Walker (2007-2009), 3 years, $12 million: -0.5 WAR
            Scott Schoeneweis (2007-2009), 3 years, $11 million: -1.5 WAR
            Chad Bradford (2007-2009), 3 years, $11 million: +2.0 WAR
            Francisco Cordero (2008-2011), 4 years, $46 million: +2.8 WAR
            Mariano Rivera (2008-2010), 3 years, $45 million: +7.8 WAR
            Scott Linebrink (2008-2011), 4 years, $18 million: +0.5 WAR
            David Riske (2008-2010), 3 years, $13 million: -0.6 WAR
            Francisco Rodriguez (2009-2011), 3 years, $36 million: +1.7 WAR
            Damaso Marte (2009-2011), 3 years, $12 million: -0.2 WAR
            Brandon Lyon (2010-2012), 3 years, $15 million: +1.0 WAR

          • jwsox 4 years ago

            “wagner was too” he is not playing any more there for not a valid part of your argument. “kuo is still better” technically not the WAR is the same…i know i know the career stats are different but last years stats are very similar between the players. and in terms of money in Kuo’s second year of ARB he is already at 2.75 meaning he is going to get more and mroe expensive over the next few years.

            as for your list of pitchers there you oly have 6 guys who have a negative WAR and 6 with a positive WAR..we all know relievers are hit or miss.

            “you certainly can’t say this without having seen 2011 yet. and if you meant if he were on the market this offseason, that doesn’t matter because he wasn’t. it’s not like they’re extending a young player here”
            I know he was not going to hit the market this season and yes i said If he were to hit the market im plying if he was a FA this off season he would have gotten the money and its true….i realize they are not extending a young player but he is only what 35 only pitches a inning or two per game. And look at other closers Ryan Franklin is older, joe nathan, Mo both are as old if not older and both get paid a ton more

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            “as for your list of pitchers there you oly have 6 guys who have a negative WAR and 6 with a positive WAR..we all know relievers are hit or miss.”

            haha what? those are the totals over the life of the deals. you think when those deals were inked the teams were like “well if he has a positive WAR, this will be worth it”?! 0 WAR means the performance level of a kid called up from the minors. those are all abominable deals. and recent

            listen i have nothing against thornton and i don’t have much against this deal. i was just butting-in to nitpick. it’s not an insult to thornton to compare him to kuo, for example; it’s a huge compliment

    • ChiSoxDoWork 4 years ago

      Since 2008, only Mariano Rivera has been worth more wins (6.9 WAR) than Thornton (6.6 WAR), next closest is 6.2.

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        cool story do you have one about 2011-2013

        i like thornton a lot. i don’t think anyone’s questioning his talent. but historically speaking 3-year commitments to relievers (especially relievers playing their age 34-37 seasons) are fail

  7. RedSoxDynasty 4 years ago

    Great deal for both the underrated Thornton and the White Sox!

  8. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    he’s a bit old to be guaranteeing three more years imo, but if he’s closing the salary is pretty nice for now

  9. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    (sniff, sniff) I smell a trade brewing….

    A non-Yankee team giving closer money to a non-closer? A good pitching performance by Peavy in ST? Possibly six starters if they would prefer to use Sale as a starter vs an 8th inning guy? Could it be a glimmer of hope?

  10. cachhubguy 4 years ago

    This was smart for Thorton and the team. Thorton was in his “walk” year. The Sox lock him up and don’t have to worry about losing him if he has a big year And Thorton gets the security every pitcher needs. Each pitch could be their last.

  11. jwsox 4 years ago

    This is the first in the next few extensions that need to happen for the sox….

    1st is John Danks….needs to get locked up this guy has ace potential and he is young and gets better every year.

    2nd edwin Jackson( i would wait till the all star break though) him coming over and working with coop which they both said they found something wrong with his pitching motion and it showed he was flat out nasty with the sox but wait till the break to make sure it sicks.

    I would even entertain an idea of signing beckham long term. he is young wnough to where he should be able to be signed to a team friendly deal (some where between longoria and brauns deals) he has hte potential to be very expensive in arb going into it after this season. im thinking 6-8 years(maybe flirt with a 10 year deal it would put him at 34 when its done) something along the lines of 40-50 mill(if you get him on the 10 year deal go for 60 mill)

    I’d let buehrle walk and have sale take over there. let carlos walk this seaosn if vicedio can show he can handle right field. and possibly let pireer walk depending on how mitchel or danks play in the minors this season

    • As much as I like Jackson, I dont see him with the Sox after this year. Isnt he a Boras client? If so…bye bye EJ

  12. cachhubguy 4 years ago

    jwsox, you make alot of sense. I think Williams has made a couple of offers to Danks. So far he seems content to go for the big payday.

    • jwsox 4 years ago

      well to be fair he did kind of low ball him last time offering him and carlos quentin the same deal that they got floyd to sign to which is a very team friendly deal. I bet if they upped it to Danks maybe 7-8 per year base with incentives that could total another 1-2 mill a season for the next 6 years he would probably sign. Look for him to get extended this off season with Buehrles+Pierres+the rest of linebrinks+ jackson coming off the books. if they extend him they would have Peavy-Danks_Floyd- and sale all in the rotation then just need to find a 5th starter (could be buehrle at a discount)

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