Who’s Next For A Matt Thornton Contract?

The White Sox "jumped the market" in signing reliever Matt Thornton to a two-year, $12MM extension with a club option for 2014, in the opinion of ESPN's Buster Olney.  With free agent relievers cashing in this offseason like never before, the Sox moved early on Thornton to avoid guaranteeing a third year.  Olney would not be surprised to see other relievers get similar deals in the coming months; let's look at a few possibilities.

  • Ryan Madson is the best candidate, as he turns 31 this year and passed on the free agent market once before despite being represented by Scott Boras.  A vintage Madson season puts him in line for three years and $15MM at the least.
  • Heath Bell's agent is expected to talk with the Padres during Spring Training, but it's hard to picture the team doing something even in the Huston Street range of three years, $22.5MM.  Bell might need to be traded before finding a suitable extension offer.
  • Matt Capps is probably only an extension candidate with the Twins if they decide to let Joe Nathan leave after the season.  Three-year deals for setup men at top dollar are not the Twins' style, as they seemingly didn't consider the possibility with departing free agents Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain.
  • Jonathan Papelbon and the Red Sox have been content to go year-to-year, so this is probably his last season in Boston.  If he's dealt midseason for some reason, maybe his new team would consider an extension.
  • Frank Francisco might fit the criteria with a good showing, though the Jays may prefer to bring in new veterans on one-year deals.
  • Jonathan Broxton could return to form this year as the Dodgers' closer.  If so, the team could try to pluck him off the market early.
  • Check out the relievers on our 2012 free agent list – do you see any other candidates to be locked up before the season ends?


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18 Comments on "Who’s Next For A Matt Thornton Contract?"


Fangaffes
4 years 5 months ago

Papelbon has steadfastly refused to negotiate for a longer contract. He has said repeatedly that he wants to be a free agent and “set the market”. What part of that does Olney not understand?

4 years 5 months ago

Olney wrote only the Thornton part in the opener, the rest was all me talking. I know Papelbon has said that, but I also think the Red Sox have not been interested in extending him. Plus, he said that stuff before his 2010 season.

RedSox31
4 years 5 months ago

I’d think that if Papelbon signed a deal at $6M per, the Sox would probably give that to him

vtadave
4 years 5 months ago

Pretty sure Papelbon and his agent can see the decline in his numbers, so saying that he wouldn’t be open to an extension makes no sense NOW.

Jason Klinger
4 years 5 months ago

Madson deal sounds about right. He’s the heir apparent to Lidge, who is in his walk year, and the Phillies probably see this as a chance to lock up a closer-level talent for below-market dollars.

nm344
4 years 5 months ago

I think Madson will do significantly better than 3/15.

Muggi
4 years 5 months ago

Agreed. He’s not the best-kept secret in baseball anymore…someone will throw more than $5m/yr at him, and he’s worth more than that anyway.

myname_989
4 years 5 months ago

How much more do you think a team is willing to pay him to be the set-up man? Looking at his numbers in save situations over the past few seasons, the man is not a closer. I think that Joaquin Benoit really set the table for Madson this off-season by signing that three year, $16.5 million deal. Who’s going to pay Madson more than $17 million?

Muggi
4 years 5 months ago

We have a different opinion on closers. I think Madson would be a great one, despite a few bad outings when the role was it on him in the past.

I don’t buy that certain guys can handle the 8th but not the 9th. 8th is often the HIGHER stress situation. Someone will give Madson a chance to close, and he’d probably take it just as a shot at a bigger payday in the future (because of GM’s valuing saves). The Phils will probably have to pay him near-closer money, and I think they should.

They certainly should look to keep Madson before they look at Lidge.

myname_989
4 years 5 months ago

Well that would certainly explain it. Lol. You hit the nail on the head though—I don’t think Madson has what it takes to close games. The way I see it, there are going to be established closers on the market. If Madson wants to close games, he’ll probably have to do so with a team that won’t be contending. I just can’t see a competitive team giving him that chance. That’s just me.

If that’s the case, I can’t see the monetary difference between closing games for a non-contender and setting up games for a team that will be contending. Do you really think he’ll make more than $17 million either way? I just don’t see it.

av8nJay
4 years 5 months ago

The Giants’ Javier Lopez should also get consideration IMO.

stl_cards16
4 years 5 months ago

If Kerry Wood has a strong first half, I could see the Cubs giving him a “thank you” 2 year contract at a higher price than that bargain he signed for this year.

Lunchbox45
4 years 5 months ago

If Frasor gets a multi year deal, I can’t see it coming from the Jays

4 years 5 months ago

Agreed, it really does not make sense for the Jays. On the bullpen depth chart, he is currently behind, Rauch, Fransisco, and probably Camp. He might be on par with Dotel, depending on whether Dotel’s spring turns around. Hard to imagine the Jays investing in Frasor. If he is going to warrant a multi-year deal, then the Jays will just offer him arbitration (again) and hope he refuses this time.

Andy Mc
4 years 5 months ago

The Jays have a team option on Frasor for 2012 at ~$3MM.

4 years 5 months ago

My bad

lyle11
4 years 5 months ago

Uh, Frasor has a cheap club option for 2012. He shouldn’t even be on this list.

Andy Mc
4 years 5 months ago

The Jays have a team option on Frasor for 2012 at ~$3MM.