Red Sox fans, we have another traitor--or, I suppose "trader" if you want to start that up again. Matt Thornton has signed with the New York Yankees on a two-year, $7 million deal.
Yankees have signed lefty reliever Matt Thornton to a 2-year deal. He will make $3.5 million each season.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 17, 2013
No, seriously, Matt Thornton is a Yankee, and I really don't understand this dynamic anymore.
When Jacoby Ellsbury signed with New York earlier in the offseason, it almost felt like coming home. There were those damn moneyed Yankees coming in to sweep up our big-name free agent. As odd as it might have been to see Jacoby Ellsbury in pinstripes this past week, there was something right about it. And not even in a pre-2004 Red Sox defeatist way. Effective come April or not, the Yankees eating our lunch in the offseason is just...natural.
And now they've signed Matt Thornton. They've signed Boston's white flag out of the bullpen, acquired for next-to-nothing because the bottom of the bullpen was so bereft of options, particularly southpaws, that a Thornton in free fall at least couldn't be worse. His 3.52 ERA with the Sox belies the fact that every time he came into the game two-plus baserunners seemed to be a given. By the time the playoffs rolled around the Sox were willing to risk Felix Doubront in the bullpen rather than bring Thornton to the postseason.
This is the guy they've signed for two years.
I'm making a lot out of very little here, I grant you. At just $3.5 million per year, Thornton's salary is a blip on the radar. He'll cost the Yankees less than the Red Sox will send to the Dodgers for the Punto deal in 2014. He is not a core piece of a Yankees team that has made real improvements in other areas, even if they all have to be taken in the context of Robinson Cano's departure. And of course that organization seems to have a knack for knocking four years off a player, at least for a few months.
But there's something about this deal in particular. A bona fide multi-year major league deal to a Red Sox castoff. It feels wrong in a way Ellsbury didn't. I don't really know what's going on with New York's front office, but it seems to lack that imperial majesty of decades past.