Let’s start with a little comparison:

  • Player A (Career): 24-12, 4.39 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 9.0 K/9
  • Player B (Career): 32-42, 3.53 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 9.2 K/9

Player A is former LHP Boone Logan, who signed a three-year, $17.5 million deal with Colorado. Player B is the Yankees newly signed LHP Matt Thornton who signed a two-year, $7 million deal.

The 37-year-old Thornton will take over Logan’s role as the lefty specialist for a fraction of the cost. Fans may remember Thornton as a member of the Chicago White Sox bullpen from 2006 through the early part of 2013. The White Sox were unsure of what they wanted to do with Thornton so they moved him in and out of various bullpen roles. In 2010, Thornton flamed out in his bid to win the closer’s job, so he’s strictly a situational specialist. Thornton was a member of the Red Sox for the majority of the 2013 season, but was left off the post-season roster. 

Alike most aging pitchers, most of Thornton’s numbers are declining. Over the last three seasons, his K/9 has fallen from 9.5 to 7.3 to 6.5. Despite a drop in strikeouts, Thornton was very good against lefties last year, allowing just 19 hits and three walks in 89 plate appearances. Thornton will hopefully record some big outs and build the bridge to the next Yankee lefty specialist, Cesar Cabral. After striking out six hitters in 3 2/3 innings last season, Cabral will be waiting for his shot to become a full-time member of the bullpen. The signing of Thornton will hopefully make this transition much smoother in the short term.