Yesterday morning, we found out that Tyler Thornburg had been given the chance to stay in the Red Sox organization with a minor-league assignment to Pawtucket. As is his right given his service time and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and owners, the righty refused the assignment. That meant the Red Sox either had to keep him on major-league roster and release him while still owing him his salary. As we indicated in the post, the latter scenario was far more likely. Wednesday afternoon, it became official. The Tyler Thornburg era in Boston is officially over with the team releasing the righty.
Red Sox released Tyler Thornburg.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 10, 2019
This is clearly in no way a surprise and has really been a long time coming. Thornburg obviously never found his footing in Boston after coming over in a now-infamous trade that sent Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubon and two more minor leaguers to Milwaukee. In general, I think Dave Dombrowski gets too little credit for the trades he’s pulled the trigger on since coming to Boston. Most of the time, he does well and picks the right players to trade. In this case, however, it was a questionable deal at best at the time and it has only gotten worse as the years have gone by. Even with Shaw taking a big step back in 2019, the production he already gave them makes him way more valuable than Thornburg ever was, and that’s without even mentioning Dubon, who made his major-league debut before the break.
As for Thornburg, perhaps a fresh start in a new organization will do him some good and get him back on track. We know the talent is somewhere in there, as he has performed at a high level before. That said, chances are he’s never going to get back to that level. After having to undergo surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, he was never the same. That is of course quite common as it is one of the worst injuries a pitcher can suffer. It’s no fault of his own that he suffered this injury from which he was never able to recover, but the team made the right choice moving on. This trade will always be a black mark on Dombrowski’s legacy in Boston, though the extent to which it’s brought up may be a bit much at times.