The World Series champion Red Sox were honored with a parade through Boston today, but they still found time to conduct some business, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that they club declined their $6 million club option on left-handed reliever Matt Thornton for 2014.
An easy decision, Thornton will receive a $1 million buyout and hit free agency. The 37-year-old posted a 3.74 ERA and 30/15 K/BB ratio over 43 1/3 innings this season between the White Sox and Red Sox, making his fewest appearances (40) since his rookie season in 2007. He was left off Boston’s postseason roster.
Thornton was long considered one of the best left-handed set-up men in the game, but his velocity, strikeout percentage and swinging strike rate have declined in each of the last three seasons. The good news is that he has remained very effective against left-handed batters, so he should still have value as a specialist.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.
Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.
The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.