The Boston Red Sox were quick to add another lefty to the bullpen before the All-Star Break. As Gordon Edes reported for ESPN Boston, the Red Sox acquired left-hander Matt Thornton from the White Sox for minor leaguer Brandon Jacobs on Friday.
With the devastating loss of Andrew Miller, the only lefty in the Sox’ pen at the time was Craig Breslow. By adding Thornton and calling up Drake Britton from Pawtucket, the Red Sox have avoided being righty heavy, especially in in the back end of the bullpen. Previously the Sox were on record of stating that they would have liked to solve this problem from within the organization, but as everybody knows, it doesn’t always work out the way you want it.
Ben Cherington had this to say on the acquisition, “We’ve had some attrition in that area. When Andrew went down, it probably increased our level of urgency. You can’t be stubborn either. We’re in good position, and we have an obligation to do what we can.”
For those of you who may not be as up to date on other players around the league as you are on Red Sox players, Thornton is a guy who has been around for awhile. He’s 36-years-old and has been with the White Sox since 2006. He mainly features a fastball and a slider and used to be a really, really good set up man a few years ago. This year, he’s got a 3.86 ERA, with 21 strikeouts and 25 hits in 28 innings pitched. He’s got a career ERA of 3.53 so he’s been pretty reliable as a reliever throughout the bulk of his career. I think most Red Sox fans would expect Thornton to be used as a lefty specialists because of his numbers this year, lefties are hitting just .173 off of Thornton, while righties are up at .320, but as Scott Lauber from the Boston Herald pointed out, righties against Thornton for his career are only hitting .238 so I don’t think you can label him as strictly a specialist.
As for my personal opinion, I think it’s a great move. Brandon Jacobs wasn’t one of the prospects Red Sox fans were worried about losing, and Thornton is a guy with a track record of consistency. The White Sox are bad and want to build their farm system up a bit, and the Red Sox are a first place team who were in need of a key piece before the deadline. I’m almost certain Boston will continue to be active in the trade market, specifically pitching, because you can never have too much of that. Wouldn’t even have to look too far, as a guy like Jesse Crain, who also plays for the White Sox, might entice Boston’s front office. The trade deadline never ceases to bring excitement and surprises to Fenway, so I will be looking forward to the next few weeks, and you all can look forward to my next article which will be an All-Star Break report card on our beloved Sox’.