Padres sign left-hander Matt Thornton

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Veteran reliever Matt Thornton is joining the Padres on a minor-league deal, with Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that he’ll get an invitation to spring training.

Thornton is 39 years old and saw his strikeout rate dip to career-low levels last season, so in a buyer’s market for relievers it’s easy to understand why he had to settle for a non-guaranteed contract. However, he remained effective last season while logging 41 innings with a 2.18 ERA and 23/11 K/BB ratio for the Nationals.

Thornton was one of the best setup men in baseball for the White Sox from 2006-2012 and has a lifetime 3.35 ERA in 730 appearances as a big leaguer, including a sub-4.00 ERA every year since 2008. He has a good chance of cracking the Padres’ roster as a middle reliever.