Instant analysis to come.
Lefty reliever Matt Thornton will join the Yankees, pending a physical, to fill the LOOGY vacancy left by Boone Logan and his departure to the Rockies on a three year, $16.5M pact. Thornton debuted with the Mariners in 2004 (19 G, 32.2 IP) and became a regular in 2005 (55 G, 57.0 IP); he’s pitched between 55-74 games (43.1-67.1 IP) in each year between ’05 and 2013 while spending time in with the Mariners, the White Sox, and the Red Sox. All told, Thornton has appeared in 606 games, tossing 568.1 innings with a 3.53 ERA and a 3.41 FIP.
I’ll start you off with the cause for concern: Thornton’s strikeout rates have been dropping pretty badly for the last few seasons. Take a look for yourself here (thanks to Mike Axisa for this tweet directing me to the graph). But on the plus side, his walk rates have stayed fairly consistent and so has his strand rate. The big plus? Thornton destroys lefty hitters.
Since 2008, Thornton has allowed no wOBA higher than .291 (2012) against southpaw batters. He also owns a career 30.5% strikeout rate against LHB, though that, like his overall K% has gone down. To counteract that, however, his BB% against lefties has been below 6% against lefties since 2010 and even fell to 3.4% last season.
This is a pretty solid signing; he gives the Yankees a devoted LOOGY for the late innings. I approve. Welcome to the Bronx, Matt Thornton!