Nationals Acquire Matt Thornton From Yankees

1:54pm: The Nationals have in fact acquired Thornton after placing a claim, reports Heyman. It’s not yet clear whether or what the Nationals will send in return other than taking on salary, says Heyman. MLB: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics

1:44pm: The Nationals have claimed Matt Thornton off revocable waivers from the Yankees, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Washington was awarded its claim on Thornton, which indicates that every club in the American League clubs and all National League clubs with a worse record than the Nats passed on the opportunity. (Be sure to read this primer on August trades if you have not done so already.)

This means that the Nationals have 48.5 hours from the point that the claim was awarded (which remains unclear) to work out a deal. If a trade cannot be arranged, the Yankees will have to decide whether to allow the Nationals to take on Thornton’s contract without compensation. (Having placed the claim, the Nats would be obliged to accept it.)

Thornton has been excellent this year, pitching to a 2.55 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9 over 24 2/3 innings. He signed a two-year, $7MM deal over the offseason, under which he is promised a $3.5MM annual salary in each season. The Nationals have been said to be looking hard to add a southpaw pen piece, though it would be somewhat of a surprise if the Yankees moved a player who has been a fairly valuable contributor.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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68 Comments on "Nationals Acquire Matt Thornton From Yankees"


BVHjays
11 months 29 days ago

Isn’t Heyman implying that the Nationals are acquiring him? Kind of odd wording. Would be odd of the Yankees to let him go though, too.

Guest
11 months 29 days ago

The wording was odd. “Get him” refers to was awarded the claim.

Jack Cox
11 months 29 days ago

Wait Hang on, Wouldn’t that mean there were teams that did pass on him if the Nats ended up getting the claim?

Mitchel H. Griffith
11 months 29 days ago

Yes

letsgogiants
11 months 29 days ago

I’m kinda surprised the Tigers didn’t take a shot at him. Maybe with the acquisition of Price, their payroll could have been about maxed out this season.

He is signed onto next season as well, so who knows whether a team might have actually wanted to guarantee him 3.5 million next season when there are relievers out there who can be had for less.

Brian McKain
11 months 29 days ago

From the article: “Washington was awarded its claim on Thornton, which indicates that no American League clubs and all National League clubs with a worse record passed on the opportunity.”

Frittoman626
11 months 29 days ago

I’m not a big Thornton fan but I don’t see how this benefits the Yankees to trade this guy unless Lindgren is being moved from AA to the majors. If I were the Yankees I’d just hold on to him since he’s being paid pennies and he’s pitched well as of late.

WashingtonRancors
11 months 29 days ago

Sounds like Cashman does not agree, out the door he goes!

Frittoman626
11 months 29 days ago

Oh well, just don’t be upset if becomes Mike Gonzalez 2.0 for you guys.

Baseball Legend
11 months 28 days ago

Thorton was signed to a 2 year $7mm base deal. He has been middle of the pack for them. Healthy, and mildly effective. With Lindgren on the way, he’ll take that role come Sept and they Yanks just got a jump for 2015 by moving that little bit of salary.

TRAPstar
11 months 28 days ago

7 million in pennies!

Dynasty22
11 months 29 days ago

Heh, I wasn’t expecting this. There are cheaper options for a LOOGY, however. Preferably Lindgren.

Danny Phillips
11 months 29 days ago

Leftys and righties both hitting 237 off Thorton. Doesn’t scream LOOGY to me. Unless the $$$$ees were using him as one.

jjs91
11 months 29 days ago

OPS against were pretty different.

Jack Cox
11 months 29 days ago

Are the rules for Waiver Trades in August the same as DFA’s?

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
11 months 28 days ago

Not quite. In August, teams can put players on waivers for 2 days. If after 2 days they are not claimed by any other team, they can be freely traded up until August 31st. If they are claimed, they can only be negotiated to the team that claimed them.

DerekJeterDan
11 months 29 days ago

Yankees are okay with letting Matt Thornton walk because Jacob Lindgren will be fast tracked to the MLB and long term he’s the answer. He’s putting up filthy numbers in the Minor Leagues. Definitely a steal Draft Pick in the late 2nd Round. Already MLB ready.

jjs91
11 months 29 days ago

Webb is also in AAA, but less of a prospect.

Victoria Roberts
11 months 28 days ago

I think you need to see what he can do above A+ ball and with a few more than 13.1 innings before you give him a job in the pen.

MB923
11 months 28 days ago

Why is that? Not all players play in the minors. I’m not comparing the 2, but look at Mike Leake. A career total of 2 games (1 start) played in the minors (and he had a 9.82 ERA)

Victoria Roberts
11 months 28 days ago

Largely because there have probably been 2 or 3 players in the past 40 or so years that have come up that quick and hundreds more who actually needed at least one season in the minors. He hasn’t pitched above A+ ball yet. I think it’s a little to early to evaluate.

MB923
11 months 28 days ago

Hey I’m not saying I disagree with you, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve heard some reports that this guy can be sent straight to the majors ever since he got drafted (strictly as a reliever though, and obviously these aren’t my wrods). Also how could I forget Joba (who as we all know the Yankees ruined by making a starter) and he pitched only 3 games in AAA and was flat out Dominant to start his career.

Victoria Roberts
11 months 28 days ago

Right, but he pitched in 88 innings before getting a callup. And he did actually pitch in AAA. Maybe they will call him up and maybe he’ll be fantastic. But again I don’t think 13.1 innings at no higher than A+ is enough to make that call. And don’t feed me the team ruined him line. The pitchers pitch, not the team. The fact that he only had two descent pitches ruined him.

Timothy Rissland
11 months 28 days ago

But he pitched 4 years of College ball and played in the CWS. You think A Ball teams could compete with the best of College teams? I dont not to mention college players are gonna be older. He’s pretty well seasoned. You dont waste that high of a draft pick on a reliever if he isnt MLB close.

levendis
11 months 28 days ago

I’m assuming he’ll spend August in the minors, and depending on how he pitches he can be in AAA by the end of it. If he gets called up it will be in September, when rosters expand. As of now Rich Hill is taking Thornton’s spot.

Michael Chaney
11 months 28 days ago

As an Indians fan, Lindgren reminds me a lot of Kyle Crockett. Crockett has only pitched 49 innings in the minors (and some of them were after his major league debut).

I think Crockett was probably more major league ready than Lindgren is, but it’s not a big difference. Lindgren is definitely on the fast track, and while it’s too early to promote him right now, he could hold his own in the majors if he got promoted in the near future.

But Crockett at least made a few Double-A appearances before pitching in the majors (he pitched a little at Triple-A after being demoted). So Lindgren probably needs more seasoning, but he’ll be a really good replacement sometime soon.

LazerTown
11 months 28 days ago

I don’t think it had to be an either or though. Thornton has been better when he is just pitching the whole inning. Is the backend of the pen currently good enought that they need to move him?

Since_77
11 months 29 days ago

Wow, did not see this coming. This leaves Huff as the only lefty in the bullpen.

MB923
11 months 29 days ago

“Thornton has been excellent this year”

14 of 42 inherited runners have scored off Thornton. When you have more games played (42) than Innings Pitched (24.2), it is not likely you are going to give up a ton of runs. Sure the K/9 and BB/9 ratios are good, but you should be looking at deeper stats

In high leverage situations, his slash line against is .357/.419/.481

jjs91
11 months 29 days ago

Didn’t help that he was pitching like a ground ball pitcher without an infield.

MB923
11 months 29 days ago

Fair points, plus he has not allowed a HR all year.

letsgogiants
11 months 28 days ago

Again, that could be due to the low number of innings he has pitched. But still, given he pitched in Yankee Stadium as his home ball park, that’s not too bad.

Scott Berlin
11 months 28 days ago

In those 24 innings he’s had 42 runners on base before the threw a pitch if I’m reading that correct. It sounds/seems like he hardly goes to the mound with the bases cleared.

MB923
11 months 28 days ago

And he’s allowed 14 of those 42 runners to score as I mentioned. In 42 games played with 42 inherited runners, that’s obviously an average of exactly 1 inherited runner per appearance.

I’m not saying he’s having a bad year, but lately he’s been terrible in high leverage situations. And as you see above, look at the latter part of what I wrote with High Leverage Situations.

bucsws2014
11 months 28 days ago

My initial reaction was why the Bucs didn’t take a shot at claiming Thornton. And you just explained why.

Bucs dumped Bryan Morris for the same issue, except Morris was even worse in allowing inherited runners to score. But he seems to be working out in Miami, so maybe a change in venue helps Thornton.

هذا الرجل رهيبة الكبير خليل
11 months 28 days ago

Hes still having a solid year, I would rather have him face lefties than David Huff

Michael Chaney
11 months 29 days ago

Good job, Jeff. You’ve been really busy lately and you’ve stayed on top of everything. Well done.

Baseball Legend
11 months 28 days ago

This is an awesome deal. I always felt that
Thorton wasn’t an ideal piece for the Yanks and if they just traded him (or cut
his salary) all the better. I tell you, high praise on here for Cherington and
a few other GM’s who I think actually have made some incredibly poor
transactions, yet Cashman continues to make high impact, low cost, with little
given up type of moves. I think this just highlights the extreme media bias
towards the Red Sox, for example, where they make a few questionable trades on
yet another losing team (a losing team is representative of 1. lack of money or
2. a weak front office) and they are hailed as being a pioneer for a new style
of “seller trades” yet, Cashman and others makes so incredibly
acquisitions and no one gives a hoot. Someday, someone will explain of this in
detail for me and make sense of why a garbage team like the Sox (for multiple
recent years) is praised as the holy grail of sports organizations.

Fangaffes
11 months 28 days ago

One certainly couldn’t quibble with your completely objective analysis. Wait. How many championships have the Yankees won this century?

Baseball Legend
11 months 28 days ago

Or better yet, how many below .500 teams have the Yankee’s fielded in the last 2 decades? That’s a far more relevant question. The how many WS have the Red Sox won point of view is flawed. So you rather have 4 years of 70 win team and one WS? That’s not a great way to run a billion dollar sports organization.

Fangaffes
11 months 28 days ago

Depends whether you’re more interesting in winning championships or making money.

jjs91
11 months 28 days ago

Because the best team always wins the WS.

jjs91
11 months 28 days ago

This isn’t really that great of a move.

Baseball Legend
11 months 28 days ago

Not true. I think it just highlights Cashman getting out in front of the market. Thorton wasn’t all that effective, although he did keep the ball in the park, so I suppose that counts for a lot, especially at Yankee stadium. I think he made a move at the perfect time, seeing as he otherwise could have been an outright release candidate at some point.

PieroB
11 months 28 days ago

Ladson still hasn’t confirmed.

Ted
11 months 28 days ago

There wasn’t one team in the AL that was willing to claim him? He’s owed what, $4.5MM for the rest of this year and next, is a lefty, and puts up consistently decent numbers? Don’t get it…

John Cate
11 months 28 days ago

I think even the Yankees may have a limit as to how much salary and luxury tax they’re willing to take on. They just took Stephen Drew’s remaining contract from the Red Sox, less $500K. Probably figure they can do without Thornton.

Vandals Took The Handles
11 months 28 days ago

Someone sure knows something.

Left handed and breathing gets one a roster spot and at least $1M a year today.

هذا الرجل رهيبة الكبير خليل
11 months 28 days ago

Lindgren must be arriving soon

driftcat28
11 months 28 days ago

Not to happy about this. Thornton has been solid in the pen all season long and the pen as a whole has been the only real strong/consistent part of the team all season. This isnt the time for the yankees to be picking that apart.

Timothy Rissland
11 months 28 days ago

I find it hilarious this article describes Thornton as “excellent” looks like the writer just looked at his stats and didnt see many of his outtings. The guy was pretty terrible and allowed an insane amount of inherited runners to score. I’m shocked someone claimed him at all and not shocked the Yankees let him go for nothing. His salary will be nice to come off the books and there really wasn’t a spot for him next year with Lindgren surely at least to be the LOOGY. Luckily this will probably even force the Yankees to promote Lindgren and his 30/4 K/BB (in 13.1 pro innings) even sooner. He’s struck out 4 batters in one inning twice already this season. He pitched high leverage college games, there’s no way AAA players can be that far off from the best college players talent wise. He’s MLB ready now.

Baseball Legend
11 months 28 days ago

Agreed. I think he even once said; I don’t really know how to pitch, but I just throw whatever I can up there. I may not be paraphrasing that perfectly, but that is in principal, what he meant. This was after the Yanks signed him too. I was like, good grief.

Vandals Took The Handles
11 months 28 days ago

The difficult in evaluating trades using overall selected statistics is that they don’t reflect what the man has done, and what scouts project him to do in the future.

There are at least 6 teams other than the Yankees in the AL fighting for either the division title or a WC. The fact that all of them passed on him is a head scratcher if we read the stats in the article. Just a few days ago there was a fight between 3-4 AL teams to get 2 months of left-handed throwing Andrew Miller.

TRAPstar
11 months 28 days ago

Can’t believe the Pirates passed on him. They were known to be looking for a Lefty

11 months 28 days ago

He’s rather expensive and Pittsburgh doesn’t appear to want to add payroll.

Ted
11 months 28 days ago

Pittsburgh did not necessarily pass on him. The Nationals had a worse record last year and thus had higher waiver priority. Every AL team and every NL team except ATL and STL has a higher priority than Pittsburgh for a player put on waivers by an AL team.

TRAPstar
11 months 28 days ago

The waivers process is by current record. Pittsburgh did pass on them

Ted
11 months 28 days ago

Thanks, you’re correct. You’d think with all the August waiver posts that show up I would have picked up on that at some point!

Adam D Valle
11 months 28 days ago

I’m wondering if taking on all of Martin prados contract is making them do this move? Save some $$ for next year. Unless they have another move lined up right now? But the pen is the yankees strength so this is a little perplexing to say the least!

Twisted86
11 months 28 days ago

One of my favorite White Sox relievers of the past decade, there was a stretch around 2008-2010 when he would shut down batters at will and make it look easy.

levendis
11 months 28 days ago

Thank god, I no longer have to get a mini heart attack when he pitches. The guy has allowed 14 inherited runners to score this year, good for 2nd in baseball.

Ray Ray
11 months 28 days ago

I wonder if this is a legit claim or something similar to David DeJesus last year when they claimed him to block someone else from getting him and then got stuck.