Matt Thornton, whose $6 million option for 2014 was declined by the Red Sox, has signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Yankees according to Jack Curry of YES Network.
After a five-year run as one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball Thornton showed some signs of slipping this year, particularly with his strikeout rate and velocity, but he still posted a 3.74 ERA in 43 innings.
However, the Red Sox didn’t think he was worth trusting in the playoffs and at age 37 a two-year commitment is risky for the Yankees. Of course, $3.5 million per season is below the going rate for southpaw relievers at this point and the guy Thornton is replacing in the Yankees’ bullpen, Boone Logan, got a three-year, $15 million deal from the Rockies.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.