Just Say No To Matt Thornton

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

As the Hot Stove season continues to be lukewarm for the Yankees, people are starting to get a little antsy and understandably so.  There’s only so long we as fans and bloggers can wait to see which free agents the Yankees sign and what killer trades Cash makes to build the team up to the 160-2 juggernaut we all wish it would be next year.  But when the talk starts turning back to mid-30s lefty specialist relievers and there is serious analysis being done on the most expensive one, that’s where the line from “antsy” gets crossed and we start jumping into ‘bizarro world” territory.

So to everybody out there who’s reading the chatter and rumors and analysis, and either seriously considering wanting Matt Thornton in the bullpen next year or already craving him, let me say this.

Stop it.  Just stop it.  The Yankees don’t need Matt Thornton in the bullpen next season anymore than they need A.J. Burnett to be a part of the bullpen next season.  Let’s review the current lay of the land out there beyond right field:

  • Mariano Rivera (greatest closer of all time)
  • Dave Robertson (best setup man in baseball in 2011)
  • Rafael Soriano (former closer/setup man with shutdown stuff when healthy)
  • Boone Logan (serviceable LOOGY most of the time)
  • Cory Wade (above-average middle innings guy)
  • Joba Chamberlain (solid career reliever who should be back by late summer)
  • Hector Noesi (above-average reliever who should be a starter but could get bumped back to the long man role)

Do you see that?  That’s the best bullpen in baseball right there.  And it’s pretty damn full and pretty damn full of guys who are already tough on lefties.  And after the back-to-back debacle of Damaso Marte and Pedro Feliciano, and the long line of 30-something relievers that the Yankees have handed contracts to, why would anybody even want to go down that road AGAIN??

I get that Matt Thornton is nasty, I do.  In the right situation, it would make perfect sense to bring in a guy with a career K/9 slightly below 10 and a very low HR/9 rate who murders left-handed hitting.  But when the situation is what it currently is in the Yankee ‘pen, and adding this lefty murderer is going to cost prospects as well as 2 years and $12 million, that just doesn’t make sense.  It’s like spending time putting expensive rims on a Maybach.  It’s already a badass f-ing car, it doesn’t need anything else gaudy on it.  Just leave it alone and let it be badass.

In short, just say “No” to Matt Thornton.

10 thoughts on “Just Say No To Matt Thornton

  1. Professor Longnose

    Depends on the cost. He’s such an obvious upgrade over Logan.

    • Well said. If they can get Thornton largely as a salary dump (for a middling prospect)then I would be all for it. However, I don’t think a second lefty is a role that is worth trading useful assets to fill. The money is not a huge problem, but his age is worthy of some concern. He would be an upgrade over Logan for sure, but it should still be a very good bullpen without him.

  2. Dan

    Thornton would easily be third best and maybe second on that list. If you look past the ERA Robertson and Wade left an unrepeatable number of men on base. Wade has 1 1/2 good seasons in the majors. Thornton is usually worth more than $6 mil in value or else equal to it. The Yankees and just about any other team can use him as an upgrade. Stop it.

    • yep.

      besides, robertson and rivera are irrelevant to the discussion. the only important question here is whether he’d be a big upgrade over boone logan, a question which didn’t even begin to get answered here.

  3. There’s no question that Thornton would be an upgrade over Logan. But I really don’t see that as a major area of need for the Yankees right now given the rest of the staff they have out there. You can’t brush off the other guys in the ‘pen as irrelevant when they’re the ones getting the bulk of the high-leverage innings.

    Signing or trading for high-priced relief pitchers rarely works out, and the Yankees have shown the ability to build their bullpen through the draft and through smaller, under-the-radar moves. I’d rather see them take that route again than commit to another guy in his 30s.

  4. T.O. Chris

    I wouldn’t go after Thornton by himself, but if the Yankees were in discussion for John Danks it wouldn’t hurt to see what the cost of both together would be. I wouldn’t overpay to have him thrown in, but no reason not to at least see what the total package would cost.

    • Now THAT is an idea I could get behind. I’d give thought to a trade package that involved both guys, but not Thornton by himself.

      • T.O. Chris

        Yeah, that’s pretty much the only way it makes sense for us to trade for Thornton. I’m also not the biggest “trade for Danks” guy since he doesn’t fill our number 2 starter need, but together they make sense. Just not sure what the W.Sox would think is fair.

  5. Domenic

    If it was a pure salary dump, I would absolutely love to bring Thornton on-board. There’s really no good argument against it, particularly when Thornton wouldn’t be a pure LOOGY – he could pitch a full inning at a time.

    However, if it’ll cost something that could have some value for the Yankees … eh. I’d rather look into a one-year deal for someone like Trever Miller, Darren Oliver, or George Sherrill, assuming another LOOGY is really a necessity. They could also roll the dice on a minor league FA like Alex Hinshaw, Jesse Carlson, or Taylor Tankersley. Or, perish the thought, give someone like Pat Venditte a shot.

  6. T.O. Chris

    Speaking of lefty relievers MLB Rumor (Jon Heyman) has the Yankees “looking at Mike Gonzalez”.

    He’s probably played himself out of any multi-year deals, but if he is willing to take an incentive laden invite to spring training I don’t see why not. If he wants a guaranteed major league deal it would depend on the base salary if I was willing to do it.

    Mike was both injured and struggled the last 3 years, but last year he was really tough on lefties in 103 ABs .214/.264/.311. He hasn’t been quite as tough over the span of the last three years 235 ABs .221/.277/.340 but that’s still pretty good.

    Like I said he’s worth a look on a minor league deal, or very small base salary with incentives on a major league contract. But considering his age (33), wildness (career 4.12 BB/9), and injury history he’s only worth a low risk look.

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