Matt Thornton threw a simulated game yesterday at Fenway Park to prepare himself in case the Red Sox wanted to add him to the roster for the World Series, but they’ve decided against activating the veteran left-hander.
That means Thornton will have sat out the entire postseason after being acquired from the White Sox in July as what the Red Sox hoped would be a late-inning setup man.
Thornton has been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball for nearly a decade, posting a 3.29 ERA in 479 innings since 2006, but he missed time following the trade with an oblique injury. Still, given how hesitant manager John Farrell has been to trust more than 2-3 key relievers in high-leverage spots you’d think they could find some use for Thornton after deeming him worth trading for just three months ago.
Two guys who spent some time in the bigs but who have found more success in Asia have decided to stay in Asia.
Darin Ruf has re-signed with the Samsung Lions of KBO, per MLB Trade Rumors. Ruf, who played five years for the Phillies but didn’t really have the numbers to stick, has stuck just fine in Korea. In two seasons in the offense-friendly league he has hit 64 homers and has put up a line of .322/.412/.587. His new deal with Samsung will pay him a guaranteed $1.4 million with $300K in potential bonuses.
The other guy — Nick Martinez — has signed a $2.5 million plus incentives deal to stay with the Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB. The former Rangers starter went 10-11 with a 3.51 ERA for the Fighters in 2018. He was 17-30 with a 4.77 ERA in four seasons with Texas.
Maybe Ruf and Martinez still have U.S. major league dreams, but guaranteed bucks in the Korean and Japanese majors is better than signing minor league deals and riding busses here.