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.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.