Yankees sign Matt Thornton

Sizing up the competition for Masahiro Tanaka
Sherman: Yankees have expressed interest in Jeff Baker
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jack Curry of YES reports that the Yankees have signed left-handed reliever Matt Thornton to a two-year, $7 million contract. It might seem as though he replaces Boone Logan, who recently signed a three-year deal with the Rockies, but Thornton probably isn’t the setup man we saw the past few years in Chicago. Today his value is more as a lefty specialist.

A former first-round pick (Seattle in 1998), Thornton struggled upon promotion to the big leagues. In Spring Training 2006 the Mariners swapped him for fellow first-round disappointment Joe Borchard. The White Sox easily got the better of that deal, as Thornton blossomed into an effective reliever who worked his way into late-inning roles.* From 2008 through 2010 Thoronton threw 200 innings with a 2.70 ERA, which amounted to the third-highest bWAR in that time frame among relievers (Mariano Rivera, of course, was first).

*White Sox GM Rick Hahn, then the assistant GM, spoke to a room of FanGraphs writers in 2010; Mike and I were both in the audience. In talking about why Thornton succeeded in Chicago after failing in Seattle, Hahn said that they didn’t try to make Thornton into a pitcher he wasn’t. Paraphrased, Hahn said, “He told us he wanted to throw the ball as hard as he could right down the fuckin’ middle, so we let him.” It sure seemed to work.

In recent years Thornton has slipped quite a bit. At a time when strikeout rates have risen his has fallen, from a peak of 12 per nine in 2010, to 6.2 per nine last year. That production dip has come mostly against right-handed hitters. After holding them to a .254 wOBA in 2010, he grew worse in each of the last three years, all the way to a .370 wOBA against righties in 2013. It is pretty apparent now that Thornton is a lefty-only guy, making him a bit less versatile than Logan, who played more of a full-inning setup role during his final two years in New York.

Through the years Thornton has remained durable, serving just two DL stints since suffering a herniated disc all the way back in 2003. The first was for forearm soreness in 2010, which is always cringe-worthy. Obviously he’s avoided the dreaded Tommy John Surgery that often follows such a diagnosis. His other stint was last summer, with an abdominal strain. They happen, though it can’t be encouraging. The Yanks will need Thorton at full strength to make a difference.

This signing will not end the Yankees’ search for bullpen help. Joel Sherman notes that they also want to add a late-inning reliever. Given the risk with the Thornton signing, they might prefer Joaquin Benoit to the injured Jesse Crain. Who knows: maybe they’ll go nuts and sign both. But whatever the case, as with Roberts, Thornton is a complementary signing. They still have a ways to go, even as far as bullpen construction goes.

Sizing up the competition for Masahiro Tanaka
Sherman: Yankees have expressed interest in Jeff Baker
  • Kosmo

    Solid move.

    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

      Seriously? There goes the 189 plan if they’re signing Thorton. If so, why not bring back Logan?

      Two years is too long for Thorton.

      • Kosmo

        2/7 is a hell of a lot better than 3/16.5 for Logan. 3.5 mil per vs. 5.5. Why would re-signing Logan be a net gain toward the 189 ?

        • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

          Say goodbye to 189. It ain’t happening and was so, so dumb to start.

          • Kenny

            If you’re right about this–as you well may be–then it betrays a real failure, in Yankee management, to think seriously about its actions. My only doubt about this is that the rash of injuries last year was so wildly improbable that they could argue it, not their thinking, was the problem.

            • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

              Wildly improbable? Jeter was one of the oldest starting shortstops in history in…2011 and without the defense to support that designation.

              Granderson was flukey but Tex was always going to get old fast. And he has.

              Then of course they planned for Youkilis and Stewart. Those were their off-season moves! That’s on top of Ichiro and Wells….

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                What does this have to do with Matt Thornton?

                • Kosmo

                  yes what does all this have to do with such a small piece of the pie ?

                  • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                    It’s an indication they are truly stuck in no playoffs land – or the mire of the middle.

                    Between Roberts and Thorton this is not a 189 team. But they aren’t good enough to contend.

                    It also suggests they have no plan right now. They aren’t getting under 189 but they also know they need to compete, given the loss of ticket revenue. So they’ll spend enough to make it look like they could win 90 games even as they end up around 84-86 wins, if that. They’ll seem close when they aren’t. I suppose that’s enough to get some people back, but that’s not a plan, it’s a tactic, not strategy.

                    • Mr. Roth


                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      Yeah I’m sure they have no plan/tactic/strategy whatever word you want to use.

                    • BFDeal

                      This is one of the dumbest rationales I’ve heard.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      And that’s saying something for RAB.

                  • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                    Can you point to a plan? In the last week all hope of 189 was punted for marginal upgrades with Roberts and now Thorton. That was the “plan” two months ago.

                    Before that the plan was to develop the farm – with pitching first and foremost.

                    So what’s the plan now?

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      To sign good players.

                      You’re weird.

                    • Mr. Roth

                      So if a stranger on a baseball message board can’t identify what the specific plan of a 3 billion dollar baseball team is, then said plan does not exist?

                      The team signed a utility middle infielder on a 1 year deal and a LOOGY for a 2 year deal and you point to those two deals as the reason why the team won’t achieve the goal of a $189 million payroll? Those two deal woth a combined total of $5.5 million? Two deals that a worth a total of 2.9% of the $189 million goal?

                      You’re a weird guy…

    • nycsportzfan

      Yes, they got the guy i wanted! I am stoked. I love the move!

  • TWTR

    His velo has been trending down, but he can still be effective as a LOOGY.

  • Algernon Blackwood


  • Rick

    Another player from 2009 USA WBC Roster…. Gonna start wearing my American Flag to the games

  • The Great Gonzo

    He’s no Benoit, but he’ll do for The Great LOOGY Hunt of 2014. Somewhere, Cesar Cabral lurks…

    • Alex

      I think Benoit will be next, even though I’m not a big fan of his. I know his numbers are solid but I’ve just never been a Benoit fan.

  • BK2ATL

    I like this signing.

    Cashman is working his plan. High risk, low cost stopgap 2B. Experienced LHR at a reasonable deal. I’m thinking that Reynolds will be back in the fold, plus possibly Jesse Crain or another RP. Then….focus on Tanaka to fill the SP slot.

    • TWTR

      The Roberts signing really isn’t high risk because he doesn’t make that much (in baseball terms).

    • JOhn C

      I like it too, but the eternal naysayers on this forum will find something to knock it

      • Travis L.

        He is old, his fastball velocity has been trending downward and he got hit by lefties last year. Good enough??

        • TWTR

          2013 v, LHB: .235 .267 .370 .638 K/BB: 6.67
          2012 v. LHB: .256 .313 .347 .660 K/BB: 5.00

          Yes, against RHB, he isn’t the same pitcher he once was.

    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

      His “plan” which one is that? Upgrade a 79 win team to one that will be lucky to win 88 games in 2014? And with an empty farm system he promised to overhaul?


      • Mr. Roth

        For someone with so much to say, you sure don’t have much to say.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          He’s a classic goal post mover.

      • BFDeal

        Did you wake up this morning thinking “today is the day I make myself look like an idiot online”?

  • Leg-End

    Would have preferred a 1 year deal but considering what Logan got its not bad I guess.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Everyone would have. I assume that that wasn’t an option though.

  • Alex

    I used to be a huge fan of Thornton but not lately, I would have preferred Logan for 3 or Lopez.

  • JOhn C

    Now bring in Veras. Since he left, his curveball has become his out pitch. Fastball/curve could become a huge weapon in the late innings.

    • Alex

      Instead of giving Vera’s 2 for probably 9, just give Balfour 3 for 21. The deal will be longer but at least you know what you’re getting. To me Veras is still somewhat unknown.

  • pacman

    solid move agree! Now get: reynolds resigned, Tanaka as a SP, and another RHP RP…benoit, crane, veras–all work for me. Liking how the roster is coming together.

  • vin

    By my count, that’s 8 major league contracts they’ve doled out this winter. Only 1 was a re-sign (Kuroda). That’s 28% of the roster, with still holes at 3B (presumably), in the rotation and in the bullpen (most likely). Say they add Chavez, Tanaka and Crain, that would mean next year’s 25-man roster would be 40% new from the end of the season.

    That’s definitely not a bad thing considering how awful the roster was down the stretch, but I find it interesting. If it wasn’t already apparent, we’re in the midst of a major overhaul.

    • TWTR

      From the middle of 2012, they added Ichiro, Wells, Youkilis, Hafner, Overbay, Francisco, Soriano, and Reynolds.

      That’s a large portion of the roster as well.

      At least these new additions have a chance to be pretty good or better, unlike the last group that mostly sucked.

      • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

        Until Beltran AND Ellsbury both get hurt….

        And the leftside of that infield will let alot of runs through.

        • TWTR

          I share the point you made above that the failure of the farm system is making it much harder for the team to succeed. If it was up to me, I would hire a GM with demonstrated success in that area, but it isn’t.

          So given the present state of reality of the franchise, I think the signings they have made are largely pretty good, as long at they sign Tanaka (if he is posted).

          All that guarantees nothing, but it would be a team that will probably be fun to root for because they would appear to have a reasonable chance to win.

          • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

            Why do you assume Tanaka is worth anything more than league average if that? He’s got the same problems all Japanese pitchers have faced. I don’t think he’s a given at all. Dice-K was supposed to be excellent too (leaving aside Igawa, of course).

            Darvish is a freak. He was the once-in-a-generation talent. Now people want to assume another like him is sitting right there.

            As for the other signings? The whole 189 plan was bunk from the start. Martin has been as valauble as McCan’t over the last four years. Swisher has been more valuable than Beltran. They overpaid immensely for Ellsbury since he doesn’t get on base enough or hit for power to be really valuable. What other “moves” should I be fawning over? They lost $65 million in ticket sales in 2013. Of course the plan went out the window – two years too late.

            This is still a low 80 win team. Go ahead and root for them. But they aren’t in hunt for a playoff spot, just like they never were in 2013.

            • TWTR

              Because of the comparisons to Darvish and the analysis I have read about his stuff. Obviously, he may not work out, or there could be a transition period, but their failure to develop their own young pitching is precisely why they need a 25 year old with his potential upside.

              The degree to which Darvish is a “freak” is unknowable as it relates to Tanaka at this point. They were absolute fools for not going after Darvish, Cespedes, and Puig, but what’s done is done. Not pursuing Tanaka compounds that mistake.

              They should have traded Swisher at the end of the 2011 season because they were unlikely to re-sign him and signed Beltran for two years. Again, what’s done is done. Beltran is still a credible option now given his remaining skills and their win-now goal.

              I will take McCann over Martin over and over and over again.

              They would have vastly overpaid Cano as well.

              You are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. That’s fine. I choose not to do that.

              • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                What comps to Darvish? Darvish is a freak and comps to him are absurd. He always was an outlier. Now two years later we’re supposed to believe that another is right there for the taking? After all these years of middling Japanese pitchers. It’s a long, long list of failures.

                McCann on that contract versus Martin on his is a no brainer, especially since Martin will still be a catcher in two years.

                Beltran is not an OF any longer. Swisher is. It’s a moot comp. And Swisher makes less AAV.

                See the 189 plan wasn’t dumb. It was very, very dumb for this front office.

                • TWTR

                  Freak is a subjective term. But even granting your point, Tanaka doesn’t have to be Darvish to be extremely valuable.

                  I really was not impressed with Martin’s inability to hit for months at a time. Now, they should slowly transition a young catcher to share time over the next few years and not stupidly trade Sanchez, but McCann can still be very valuable here.

                  Yet he plays the OF. Again, Swisher wasn’t going to be re-signed. He should have been traded for a pitcher when they still had one year of control.

                  I am not defending Hal’s ability to buy more yachts.

                  • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

                    “Freak is a subjective term. But even granting your point, Tanaka doesn’t have to be Darvish to be extremely valuable.”

                    Exactly. He doesn’t have to be Darvish to be very valuable.

                    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                      Depends on contract. With the numbers and years being thrown around, he needs to be 20% better than league average. Not even Kuroda has been that good in his career.

                    • TWTR

                      But you can’t compare his contract to Darvish because of the new posting system. So given that reality, what’s reasonable to you?

                    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                      Honestly? I’d stay far, far away. Save the money for Kershaw and send word that they are doing exactly that. A big lefty getting big bucks I can get behind.

                      A Japanese pitcher I can’t, not until he proves himself. Dice-K was supposed to be can’t miss too.

                      Darvish was the exception, not the rule, until proven otherwise.

                    • TWTR

                      You are really going to save money with the idea that the extremely deep-pocketed Dodgers won’t re-sign him?


                      Again, because of their inability to develop pitching (or position players) and their win-now goals (which we can’t change), and no sign of a new GM that has demonstrated success in that area, they don’t have the luxury of letting a pitcher with Tanaka’s upside experiment somewhere else.

                      He fits their needs and their goals.

                    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                      I don’t understand how so many can be so convinced on Tanaka. I guess I remember Dice-K and the Fat Pussy Toad.

                      There are too many questions on Japanese pitchers in general to go all in on Tanaka in a bidding war. Darvish was the guy. Don’t compound that mistake.

                    • TWTR

                      It’s not about being convinced it’s about risk/reward given the reality of their win-now mandate and their inability to develop talent.


                      They have money and they need young ML talent.

                      Tanaka only costs money and has talent.

                      Don’t over-complicate it.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      Way, way, way too late.

            • Mr. Roth

              Since you’re so much smarter than the Yankees and all, what moves would you have suggested they make this offseason?

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                He’s just whiny. TWTR had it right when he called him out as letting perfect be the enemy of the good.

                Instead of suggesting a helpful alternative to Thornton, he just bitches about our lack of a “plan”.

                It’s funny if you interpret it as a bored 16 year old.

                • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                  I said Logan. Better pitcher, younger, with more situations to use him. Cry cost all you want. The Yankees are laughing themselves to full pockets. And it’s no difference to fans. Somehow an org that easily clears $100M a year in pure profits has convinced suckers their payroll matters.

                  As for Thorton the upgrade over even Cabral is half a win at *best*. This team needs to move in 4-5 win increments to have any chance.

                  But keep maintaining the illusion of them competing. Then again I’m sure you maintained that illusion last winter and throughout 2013 too.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                    You mean when we were still in the playoff race in September?

                    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                      Wow, you’re an off-the-charts homer. Of course my truth is too much for you with you acting like a drunk sorority girl trying to sleep with Cashman and the whole team.

                      They finished far, very far, from a playoff spot and with a negative run differential. But keep throwing your money at them. They’ll laugh all the way to Goldman Sachs.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      Shit, where did the goal posts go?

                  • Mr. Roth

                    Logan and the bone spurs in his pitching elbow? Sounds good if you need a pitcher to keep the rehab staff busy for the next 3 years.

  • Coolwhipthatass

    Awesome move ! It’s beginning to look like one of the best free agent periods for the yanks I’ve ever seen. Every team expects a certain amount of production from players. So here I go coolwhip about to indulge with the upmost indulgence
    Now these are what should be expected for a normal year
    Ellsbury .300 avg .350obp 12hr
    Beltran .280 ave .370obp 25hr
    McCann .270 avg .350obp 25hr
    Roberts .275 avg .350obp 10hr
    Soriano was a monster for us so let’s say he comes back to earth for argument sake
    Soriano .260 avg .340obp 30hr

    Plus texiera instead of nuneee and jeter
    Seems to be A ok so far and who’s to say we are done ? Reynolds tanaka Balfour sounds better than last year to me

    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

      Wow, I’d love some of what you’re smoking. Seriously, lay off. It’s the middle of the day.

      Thanks for a good laugh.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Really? Outside of Roberts, none of those are even remotely crazy.

        Which one is insane? Which one would be the result of “smoking”?

    • Now Batting

      The only one that looks unreasonable to me is Roberts because I don’t think he’ll play enough to hit 10 homers.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    Oh, good.

  • dkidd

    cabral: “watch your back, thornton”

  • Dan

    I like it. Low cost, reliable bullpen piece. The type of guy who could complement the unknowns (in the hope the Yanks catch lightning in a bottle with one of them).

    The Yanks should probably still add another bullpen piece. I definitely don’t think they should spend more than $4m AAV on it (so not Benoit).

  • Mike

    I like it. Makes us stronger and makes the Boston weaker.

    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

      Yeah, makes the World Champions weaker and a 79-win team stronger. Kudos!

      • Dan

        This team as is, is better than 79 wins. I don’t think they’re a playoff team yet, but (provided Tex and Jeter rebound somewhat) they’re probably around 88 wins. Add Tanaka and a useful 3B option (Reynolds or A-Rod if he plays), and I’d be really surprised if they didn’t at least get a wild card (92+ wins).

        • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

          I love how you think A-Rod and Reynolds are interchangeable. They also don’t have a SS. You also assume that all these players they signed will stay healthy? They have exactly zero depth.

          There were a 79 win team in 2013. They lost close to 8 WAR with Cano. They’ve barely made that back.

          They are closer to a 82-84 win team today and very, very old and fragile.


          • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

            Zero depth? Have you seen the outfield? It’s December. Teams don’t load up on depth right now. Need to find the bigger pieces first.

            Cano has never had a WAR of 8. If you’re going to use WAR for an argument, they lost exactly .2 between the switch from Cano to Ellsbury. Do better.

          • Dan

            If by lost close to 8 WAR, you mean 6 WAR, then you’re right! But those numbers aren’t very close.

            I think they’re 82 wins pre Beltran and Kuroda. They are both 2.5-3 win players. And the 88 win total discounts any production from Roberts (intentionally because you can’t count on him being healthy), but he was worth almost a win last year for the O’s in limited time. (all numbers are fWAR)

            I only had Reynolds and A-Rod as interchangeable, because discounted for injuries they should both have similar value in terms of WAR. Both were worth about half a win last year. Obviously if A-Rod is healthy for the whole year, he’s much more valuable than Reynolds. (and by the same token, 2 months of A-Rod is about of equal value to a team as a year of Reynolds)

            They are an older team and are injury prone. But they have brought in decent pieces to cover their ass around the field. They have 5 capable outfielders in Gardner, Ellsbury, Soriano, Beltran, and Ichiro.

            They have depth in reserve infielders in Ryan and Johnson who are better than what they had last year (and I assume they’ll add 1 more piece, be it Reynolds or someone else). Having those two guys makes Nunez and Anna the third and fourth backup infielders (last year come July both would have been starting if they were healthy/here).

            They also have several capable #5 starters. They still need to add an at least middle of the rotation SP to be a playoff team (like I said), but they have depth by having Warren, Phelps, Nuno, and Pineda on the 40 man.

            Losing Cano hurts. No doubt. But this team is better than last year. If they add another piece or two they’ll be in the playoffs barring catastrophic injuries (like last year). This all depends on Jeter and Tex being 2 win players (which would be at or below their career lows).

            • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

              Explain your math. They were a 79 win team in 2013. They lost:

              Cano – 6-8 WAR
              Pettitte – 2-3 WAR
              Mo – 2-3 WAR

              Even on the low end for those three, and not counting the marginal losses (Logan, Stewart, etc), that’s a huge chunk of value. Kuroda is a wash, since he was on the team in 2013. Ellsbury AND Beltran barely make up for Cano. They have yet to replace Pettitte in the rotation or Mo in the pen.

              Hard to argue they’re even above 80 wins at this point.

              Reynolds isn’t a 3B, which means any value he gives he taketh away at 3B.

              Ichiro isn’t capable of anything other than defense. Even there, he’s mostly lost all value he once had.

              You are also only taking depth in the OF. What about the infield which is full of has-beens? Or the bullpen? Or the starting rotation?

              Oh right, you’re saying they have several 5’s – none of whom have shown anything worth depending on over a full season.

              Nope, this team is barely improved from 2013. They were that bad and have barely replaced what they lost.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                “Hard to argue they’re even above 80 wins at this point. ”

                Unless you use any projection system not found on Over the Monster.

                • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                  They were a 79 win team in 2014. You can pretend otherwise, but that doesn’t make it true.

                  Then they lost three players and a bunch of wins they’ve barely replaced, if that. Beltran and Ellsbury barely make up for Cano. No one has replaced Pettitte or Mo.

                  McCann is maybe a three win upgrade. And…? Jeter playing shortstop could actually be below replacement level. Tex was already struggling to OPS .800. Roberts does little to noting. Thorton isn’t even a rounding error.

                  What else? A full season of Soriano? And his defensive downgrade from Ichiro?

                  Bottomline: They are closer to 80 wins than to 90 wins, Peckerhead.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                    Every other major projection: 81-84 wins.

                    Your projection: Last year we should have won 79 games based on a flawed metric.

                    Ichiro last year: 1.1 WAR.
                    Soriano: 2.9 WAR.
                    That’s a 2 win upgrade. Defense is not the only part of a player’s game.

                    3 win upgrade is incredibly massive. I don’t think you watched what we were rolling out there last year behind the playte.

                    Closers, even the GREAT MO, are replaceable. It’s unlikely D-Rob is a substantial downgrade.

                    Tex and an .800 OPS and top notch defense will be an upgrade over the mess we had at 1B last year.

                    Pettitte can be replaced by Tanaka. Kuroda’s back. If you think CC doesn’t bounce back at all, well, that’s your prerogative.


                    Beltran + Ellsbury = Cano, by your math.

                    Mccann = last year + 3 wins.
                    Soriano = + 1 win.
                    Tex = + 1 win, conservatively.

                    Bullpen = largely the same, unless you can prove that Robertson will be worse than Mo, and that his backups aren’t going to be replaced by capable arms. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the pen has been the one part of the team that has been pretty good at finding cheap talent.

                    So right now, without any more moves, we’re down Pettitte’s WAR: 3.2
                    If we replace him with even just a 2 WAR Tanaka/minor leaguer/other FA(AND ITS ONLY DECEMBER, YO), that’s a 1 Win downgrade.

                    Math: 0+3+1+1-1 = +4.

                    So even by your oddly pessimistic, self-serving indignation, we’re an 83 win team, right now.

                    Closer to 80? Sure. Did I say otherwise? Nope.

                    Stop moving the goalposts, post-coital memorial.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      And don’t worry, I know that to you, seeing an 84 win team is a polyanna homer sorority girl who wants to fuck cashman or other FO members as if there’s anything wrong with that to begin with.

                      I’m really sad that it’s march and the FA period ended, we could have used another 2-3 months to fill in the remaining holes.

                    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                      Heh, your logic is flawed by your viewpoint on your knees.

                      They had Soriano for a big chunk of that value. The upgrade is closer to 1 WAR and that’s if he doesn’t regress. He was replacement level two years ago.

                      Convenient to ignore the fact that if Robertson is replacing MO, who is replacing Robertson (the second best setup guy in the game?)???

                      Assuming Tanaka will come in and be worth 2-3 WAR is making an ass-u-me. And that’s if they sign him.

                      Still down Pettite AND Mo (or Robertson).

                      I didn’t move anything. I said barely upgraded from that dismal 2013 team. Thank you for proving my point!!!

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      The fact that you didn’t read anything I wrote is about all I need to know, here.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      PS, Mo was worth 2 WAR over the last 2 seasons.

                      Thornton, as he pitched last year, is just about worth that.

              • Dan

                Ellsbury–5 Wins

                McCann–2.5-3 wins

                So that’s more than Cano’s *6* wins.

                Mo was worth 1.5 wins last year. Pettitte was worth 3. So they’re 2.5 wins lower than last year at this point.

                Then they added Beltran, who’s worth 2.5-3 wins. Adding diminished Tex and Jeter is worth 4 wins. 2 wins matches Jeter’s previous career low, and Tex’s previous career low was 2.5 wins.

                Full Seasons of Soriano and Nova are worth an extra 2-3 wins. The number is now around 86 wins. It’s not a stretch to get to 88 wins at all when you consider the bench is improved (like I explained Ryan and Johnson would have started no questions asked come July over last years lot, and Ichiro is now the 5th outfielder).

                • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                  You are assuming way too much to think Ellsbury will be worth 5 WAR and that Jeter will be worth 2 WAR. He’s injured and still old.

                  Full seasons of Soriano and are another 2-3 WAR????? Soriano was replacement level two years ago. Nova has been up and down his whole career.

                  Tex has been on the downslope for three years now. He;s getting worse.

                  And the bench is not helping with the injuries.

                  CHeer all you want. That’s your prerogative. But you aren’t entitled to your own facts.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                    “But you aren’t entitled to your own facts”

                    You’re doing a good job fooling us. You haven’t cited anything except your own BS opinions.

                    Oh and apparently have latched on to any goalposts in an effort to move them as far away from anyone else as you can.

                  • Dan

                    Ellsbury was worth 5.8 fWAR last year. While playing only 134 games. Factor in a healthy year or if his power ticks up at Yankee Stadium, he could be worth the same as Cano.

                    Soriano was 3.5 Wins two years ago. Replacement level 3 years ago. But 2 3 Win seasons in a row should calm you that that’s a blip. Nova has been up and down. But he pitched really well last year, it’s not a stretch that he’ll be a 3.5 win starter (last year he was worth 2.5 wins in just 20 starts). Tex has been declining and my 2 win number takes that into account.

                    You aren’t entitled to ignore all actual facts that show you’re wrong.

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  You’re wrong because you’re wrong. Stop blowing people, your sorority girl prostitute.

                  Am I doing it right? I think so.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Lol @ ESPNisms.


      • Elan

        I’m sorry, where do you keep getting 79 wins from again…?

        (On a side-note: Imagine how amazing it would be if all of the trolls lost their internet access.)

        • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

          79 wins = RS to RA in 2013.

          (On a side note: Imagine how valuable fan forums would be if “fans” learned objectivity)

          • mitch

            i thought everyone realized pythag wins were a joke

            • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

              Is that a joke? The goal of the entire spot is to:
              a) Score runs
              b) Prevent runs

              If you score more runs than your opponents, you win. Period.

              Over the course of a full season, it’s an excellent mark of true talent. For the 2013, their offense was horrid. And their pitching was meh. Then they lost their best offensive contributor.

              One-run games are very flukey, and the Yankees just lost their best one-run difference maker in Mo.

              This team will be in the hunt all right…for .500

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                and the Yankees just lost their best one-run difference maker in Mo.

                Based on what? Mo wasn’t particularly good in one-run games last year.

                • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                  Marginal returns. Having Mo meant using Robertson in the 7th or 8th. Now?

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead


                    “I’m wrong, let me say something completely unrelated to the point”

  • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

    So we’re really, really done now with the 189 plan, aren’t we? I suppose the Yankees are cheering for A-Rod’s suspension but I can’t see how even that gets them under.

    Nice job tossing two years in the toilet. They missed clear wins like Darvish and Martin and even Swisher to stuff their pockets further. And the “fans” are still suckers thinking they were ever in the hunt last year.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      They could still get under $189M with a full season suspension. The Roberts and Thornton signings didn’t really change anything, other than reducing the available money left to spend from under $10M to under $5M.

      • Dan

        Plus if they deal Ichiro they’ll have more money.

        • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

          Keep dreaming. This is the same org that is paying him and Wells and had both as starters for 2013.

          • Dan

            $6.5m for Ichiro isn’t crazy. He was worth over 1 WAR last year. Right now 1 WAR is worth over $5m. They shouldn’t have to eat that much money to move him $1-$2m. That savings would almost offset both of today’s signings.

            • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

              That’s a stretch and most teams know it. He put up a 75 OPS+ and is expected to play a corner OF position?

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Bahahahahaha “Your fact is a stretch”.

                Geez, man. You’re quite transparent.

                • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

                  Yeah, teams are killing themselves to acquire an expensive 40 year old who’s 25% worse than league average.

                  Really, it was brilliant to sign him for two years! Bravo!


                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead


                    I guess 37 is closer to 40 than 30. Might as well be the same.

      • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

        No they can’t, not with the arb players still out there and the other assorted benefits. That already puts them over.

        You don’t spend millions on a washed up 2B and a LH specialist if you are controlling spending.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Without ARod, they aren’t over yet.
          14 signed players (with today’s additions): $150.24M
          5 Arbitration players (projected): $14.8M
          Benefits (est): $12M
          40-man/pre-arb players/routine transactions (est): $5M
          That’s $182.04M for luxury tax purposes.
          ARod *might* still count for $2.5M even with a full season suspension, which would bring the total to $184.54M, leaving under $5M left for additional moves and bonuses.

          “You don’t spend millions on a washed up 2B and a LH specialist if you are controlling spending”

          You might if they are trying to fill those roles cheaply and realize they don’t have much available on the farm to do so.

          I think they most likely will exceed the $189M threshold. I just don’t think today’s moves are really an indication of anything one way or the other.

          • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

            You are light in that accounting.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              It’s very close. The esimates for benefits and non-signed/non-arbitration might be off a bit, but not enough to put them over $189M without ARod yet.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            Actually, with still 6-7 open roster spots currently filled by pre-arb players, the current roster would probably up the $5M I estimated for 40-man/prearb/transactions to closer to $7-8M.
            They could still get under $189M this year, but they basically can’t add anybody else for much more than league minimum, would need ARod to be suspended for the full season, and would have to avoid any significant bonus payments.

            • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

              There you go. You don’t sign two players for $5M if you are serious when they could have slid in Cabral and some random AAAA for 2B.

              Plus, of course if staying under 189 is still the goal that have exactly zero room for injuries with no mL or bench depth. They’d have to upgrade with no resources available.

              That’s the cognitive dissonance that many don’t. Either:
              a) They stay under 189 and won’t come close to the playoffs
              b) They sail right past 189 and so had no reason to put up that illusion for three years

              You can’t have it both ways, but many want exactly both. This isn’t close to a playoff team right now.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                I guess it’s lucky baseball is a completely predictable sport, otherwise your a/b choices would just be insane rantings of a madman.

          • Dan

            According to Jeff Passan via twitter “Minus A-Rod salary, the Yankees’ current internal luxury-tax calculation is at ~$178M. Adding another SP will take ’em over $189M threshold.”

            So there ya go.

        • Mr. Roth

          So you’re one of those people who have no original ideas of their own and just shit on everything anyone else says. Must get boring after a while, eh?


          • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

            Rage MUCH?

            It doesn’t get boring because the idiocy of this org never ceases to amaze me. They are all the greed and none of the smarts to win. Cashman signed up for the 189 plan and he executed as such. That meant Stewart over Martin and Ichiro/Wells/You-kill-us over Swisher in 2013. Now? They’re still paying for that dumb, dumb off-season.

            Of course, argue the counter. But you can’t. Point to all the farmhands ready to help them stay cheap and competitive? Nope. All the home grown pitching? Nada. The big offensive upgrades waiting to arrive? Zilch.

            To bad you got nothing but your own rage. Have fun with that.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              “idiocy of this org”

              That has missed the playoffs twice in 18 years.

              Yeahhhhh the org is the idiot here.

            • Mr. Roth


            • Mr. Roth

              You must have mistook my joke for rage.

  • Bob Buttons

    Filling a need with a mostly known arm. Probably best option on market at the time.

  • Cano’s Burning Jersey

    Can someone post something in regards to where we are with 189 right now? I can’t imagine it’s feasible unless Aroid gets a full year and we don’t sign anyone else. A lot of people think he will only get 50 so with that as a baseline, where does that put us?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      With only a 50-game suspension, they are definitely over.
      With a full season suspension, they are barely under (with probably less than $5M left for additional transactions and to cover any earned performance/roster bonuses).

  • Frank

    Considering his total cost is less than half of what Logan signed for, it’s a good sign. Now just add a couple more pieces. Sign O’Flaherty, who is rehabbing and due to be ready by May/June, and Bailey, Hanrahan or Benoit, and the BP should be in nice shape.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      “Considering his total cost is less than half of what Logan signed for, it’s a good sign”


      • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

        For a lesser pitcher – fewer Ks, less flexibility.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          And what’s your point? No one argued which pitcher is better fool. The deal is more team friendly.

          • Mr. Roth

            That’s how he rolls. Every comment is wrong, every move is stupid, every player is too old, the young ones are too young, and Cashman failed.

          • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

            Who cares how team friendly the deal is? They make $300 million on ticket sales and suites alone in a down year. Is the difference leading to lower ticket prices? Or coming out of your wallet somehow?

            Isn’t the point to win? Logan is the better pitcher. Period.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              “Who cares how team friendly the deal is?”

              The original comment that you’ve now, yet again, moved the goalposts away from.

              • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger


                Dude, you replied to a comment that was entirely in reference to the contract.

                It’s a shame that you’re part of the fanbase.

            • Mr. Roth

              Nevermind those bone spurs that were removed from his pitching arm. I’m sure thats the narrative you’d be spouting out your ass if we resigned Logan for 3 years and 16.5 million.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Spot on. And Thornton has 0 injury history. But nah, that’s not a benefit, I guess.

                • Mike

                  Yes. We must continue to sign players with low injury risk.

  • EndlessJose

    No Joaquin Benoit.Did anybody see the ALCS last year?We need more harder throwers than guys who are crafty veterans.

    • TWTR

      If they are going to sign Benoit for multiple years, they would have been better off spending it on Infante.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    In addition to the ability to see which posts I haven’t read yet, and then getting the ‘edit’ button so we can fix our own stupid mistakes, I’d really like to a see a ‘mute user’ feature.

    Of course, eventually we’ll also get a ‘mute off-topic’ feature and then this post will disappear.

    Until then…

  • FLYER7

    Sure his velocity is down but he still throws at 94

  • Elan

    On another note, does anyone think it was wise to let the Orioles get Balfour for only $7 million a year? I feel like the Yankees lost out big-time on this one, especially by allowing him to go within the division.

    • Dicka24

      If I remember right, Balfour is a big time fly ball guy, so I’m not sure how well he will play in the AL East, in these band box HR parks. I know his home/road splits were significant while playing for Oakland. The park there is made for fly ball pitchers.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Rafael Soriano is an extreme flyball closer and he did just fine in that role as a Yankee. Plus, Balfour spent three years in the AL East before going to Oakland and fared well.

        • Dicka24

          Balfour wasn’t 36 three years ago. Plus, you should look at Balfour splits. They’re very pronounced. They don’t certify anything of course, but they should always be considered.

  • mustang

    Ok now this makes no sense. They just blown the 189 plan for Roberts and Thornton !!!!!

    They were at 13mm now they are at 7.5mm. Even if they get 3mm for Ichiro Suzuki that’s only 10.5 not enough Tanaka so WTF!!!

    Why go cheap at second then?

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Who wasn’t cheap at second? The money wasn’t the issue with Robbie, the years were. Infante? Meh. Ellis? Meh. If you’re going to spend money, spend it on someone worth it. They weren’t.

      189 is dead. The sooner the commentariat here realize that, the better off we’ll all be.

      They had a plan, figured out it was a mistake, and they’ve moved on. I wish we would.

      • mustang

        YOUR 100% DEAD ON!!!!


      • CS Yankee


        If the weird % puts anyone off it is due to trying to maintain the same logic as “Mr Gift Basket-case”.

  • Delbert Grady

    I’d love it for Mike or some media member to truly put the Yankees front office feet to the fire and ask them why the Hell they spent the past 2 off seasons sitting out spending long term in order to go under 189 for 2014 only to throw it all away now. The laundry list of players signed the previous 2 off seasons could’ve solved many of the problems the Yankees are patching up now. What kind of “strategy” is it to intentionally avoid spending past 2013, lower the talent level on the team, pass on better players in order to achieve a budget goal and then throw it out because the fans caught on to it as evidenced by declining ratings and ticket sales. That was the whole point. Weaken the team, spend less past 2013, get under 189. They did 2 out of the three and now they have cold feet? The team is run by morons. I like a lot of the additions, but when you look back with clear eyes at what went on the previous off seasons in regards to avoiding free agents and players with money past 2013, it’s a disgrace.

    • hogsmog

      So they made a bad decision and corrected their mistake. They probably didn’t count on Tex, Granderson, CC, Pineda, Nova, Jeter and Arod to all be nonfactors in 2013 when they were making this plan. Would you have rather they stayed the course and field another terrible team? Or are you saying they should have been able to predict the future two years ago?

      • Delbert Grady

        hogsmog – I’m saying that they made it clear the past few seasons that attaining the budget was the ultimate goal. They did everything they could to make it happen including passing on Cano (which was probably decided before this off season). Why not show some resolve for a change? If that was your plan, own it. You were there this off season. Why not execute it? All you had to do was sign some more scrap heap guys and it was simple. Instead they acted like the Mets for 2 off seasons and did all the steps to attain their $ goal and then wet themselves because fans didn’t like being lied to about the team doing all it could to win a championship. I don’t know. It just seems like the previous seasons were all a colossal waste of time guided by management that changes their plan year to year. They actually had it set up to achieve their $ goal and they got scared. That plan was wrong to begin with and it’s a shame they wasted 3 seasons chasing it to only abandon it. Puig, Cespedes, Darvish, Soler, etc would all have been exactly what this team needed to transition and stay a powerhouse. Instead, we’re signing guys on the wrong side of 30.

        • hogsmog

          Sometimes admitting you’re wrong and cutting your losses is the right move. Things would have turned out better for Napoleon if he’d walked out of Russia with half his men instead of none.

  • Dr. Grenaldine

    Yankees signed Billy Bob Thornton?????

  • JGYank

    Nice signing. Would have preferred logan with his k/9 and age instead but Thornton comes cheaper and can still get the job done. We are 1 RP 1 SP and a CC rebound away from a solid pitching staff. We still need a set up man IMO like Benoit and then the pen should be good. Good to see them filling holes quickly.

  • Dicka24

    I’m not to sure this was a necessary move. I don’t hate it, but $7 million for a LOOGY might not have been the most efficient use of what is said to be limited dollars. If 189 isn’t an issue, then who cares I guess. However, if it is, I’d like to think that a LOOGY role can be easily filled by cheaper options. Thornton is on the decline, but he does get LHB’s out.

    One thing to keep in mind is that this guy was left off the post season roster for the Redsox, and it’s not like they had a gang busters deep bullpen. I don’t know if he had some lingering issues from his DL stint before the trade, but he didn’t look good at all when I saw him pitch here post trade.

    I’d have preferred Scott Downs, and I’d assume this type of deal might have been enough to get him. If not a larger 1 year deal. That’s a guess anyway.

    • nyyankfan_7

      If you are concerned about the 189 limit….

      1. It is not $7 mil towards that – it’s 3.5 million.

      2. If you don’t like giving him 3.5 million why would you be okay with giving Scott Downs more money on a 1 year deal which would be even more “limited dollars”.

  • Vern Sneaker

    I couldn’t care less whether they go over the $189M. It’s their money, not mine. The question for me is whether they are building a playoff team. So far, so good. No way they could have given Cano $200M + and also signed all four of Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury, and Kuroda, and still be willing/able to pay for Tanaka if it comes to that. Are we better off without Cano? If we finish the re-building successfully with a few more needed pieces, I’d say yes.

    • Dicka24

      I agree on the $189. As a fan I couldn’t care less if they stay under it. Unless there are some genuinely restrictive repercussions that come with going over, then why would we fans care? If it’s only a money thing, well, it ain’t our money.

      I like their offseason so far. I don’t like the money and years being handed out, nor losing all the draft picks, but I do like the players they’ve signed. Key positions up the middle, and a middle of the order bat. Hard not to like the players in and of themselves.

      I’m glad they didn’t give in to Cano. Hate to see him go, but 10 years? PASS….

  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    It’s amazing how signing a LOOGY brings out the doom and gloom crowd.

    We got a loogy with experience. Chill. We need to restock the bullpen and this is just one small piece. And a decent piece, at that. Logan got overpaid, and to get Lopez away from San Fran you were going to have to pay him more than Logan. The guy won two rings there, he was giving a home town discount for sure.

    2 years at $3.5/per is not bad. And he’s trending downward on his fastball, so what? It’s not like he fell off a cliff. Who’s to say that getting past the abdominal strain won’t get him trending upward. Stick him with Cabral in there and you have two LOOGYs, one with experience and one on the upswing.

    Grab O’Flaherty and Crain and the pen is set. No need to waste money on closers.

    Personally, I’d be more upset at giving Benoit 3/20 than giving Thornton 2/7. While I haven’t looked at benoit’s “trends,” I know that he’s been extremely hit table the last two Septembers.

    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

      Why are you so hung up on the Yankees saving money? Thorton is a specialist. They need much more than that – on offense, on defense, in the rotation and in the pen…

      Wooooo! 82 wins here we come!!!!

      • Now Batting

        We get it. Now that you’ve ruined the whole thread by replying to every post with questionable logic and sarcasm shut the fuck up.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          I think this is how everyone should reply to him.

    • FIPster Doofus

      “No need to waste money on closers.”

      It depends on the closer. I’d have happily given Balfour 2/15. That’s a great deal.

  • dkidd

    i’m officially confused. are they trying to stay under 189 or not? if they are, this signing makes no sense. if they aren’t, then going cheap at 2B makes no sense.

    • mustang


  • KennyH123

    2 years on a 37 year old lefty who is clearly trending downward is just idiotic. Roberts signing doesn’t cost much, but has very little chance of helping. Roberts is a walking infirmary. So is Ellsbury for that matter. After that, you have a lot of OLD players like Soriano, Jeter, Beltran, Kuroda, Ichiro… this team has an excellent chance to finish 4th.

    • Dicka24

      Or finish 1st. There is a lot that could go wrong, but a lot that could go right as well. CC rebounding, Text returning, Jeter healthy, Ellsbury not getting fallen on a 2b, etc. could make for a terrific team and season. Of course CC declining, Text struggling, Jeter being done, Ells getting hurt again, etc. could make the season a lot like, or maybe worse, than the last one. I’m upbeat about their chances, even though I do see some real concerns. The talent is definitely there to compete. They just need a few more pieces.

      • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

        Jeter getting healthy still doesn’t make him a SS.

        The talent is there – for a team competing in 2008 or 2009.

        • nyyankfan_7

          No him standing between 2nd base and 3rd base next April makes him a SS – and a much better one than you will ever be.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            I think we should sign JPGB for SS next year.

  • UncleArgyle

    Cashman LOVES giving big money to LOOGYS. He can’t help it. It’s like dating a really hot girl who likes to loudly burp in public. It’s a disgusting habit, but it’s something u just have to deal with.

    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

      Yup, I wish someone would put together a list. There have been some real stinkers.

      • nyyankfan_7

        There have also been some real fucking good ones:

        Mike Stanton
        Clay Rapada
        Boone Logan
        Chris Hammond
        Graeme Lloyd
        Mike Myers
        Damaso Marte – yes his regular season numbers were absolutely God awful but the 6 innings of work he did in the 2009 postseason were worth any amount of money they paid him to not pitch over his 3 year deal.

        I’d say he’s done alright.

    • Dan

      This isn’t close to big money in today’s market. Logan got $16m!

  • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket aka Closet Red Sux Fan

    Sorry guys. Have to go. My mommy is calling me.

    • Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket

      I got a spanking for spending all morning on the internet when I was supposed to be putting the clothes back on my Red Sox action figures. Big Papi looks so much better with his pants off.

  • Josh S.

    If you score more runs than your opponents, you win. Period.

    -John Madden (if he were announcing baseball games)

  • mustang

    There has to be more to this.

    • mustang

      Bottom line they can’t sign Tanaka or any of the top starters without going over 189 with or without A-Rod.

  • Bobby D

    The two moves today are not going to change this team into a playoff contender. Talk to me when you acquire an impact pitcher to improve this staff!! This team needs an ace starter and a competent closer !! I’ll get excited when I hear someone like Price, Sales, Lee or maybe Tanaka brought int the fold.

    • FIPster Doofus

      “Talk to me when you acquire an impact pitcher to improve this staff!!”

      Hard to do that when the target isn’t even eligible to be acquired yet. Price, Sale or Lee? Not happening.

      • BobbyD

        Why did they not get J.P. Howell?? A much better option!

    • BFDeal

      Spoiled ass.

  • nycsportzfan

    I must of put thornton in just about every put together yanks team i’ve done(trying to perdict). I love everything about the signing. As i just said yesterday, he is very boone logan like. They both are big hard throwing lefties that strike guys out. Thornton can tutor Cabral as well. Its a great veteran additon to the pen. Hes been to the postseason, almost always has respectable if not really good ERA. There is nothing to not like about this deal.

  • 461deep

    Snowing pretty good up here now in Albany, NY area. Roberts, Thorton, Johnson signings like stuffing a Christmas stocking with small secondary items hoping for a big surprise. Why team is playing 5 & 10 cent store Jenny is a bit perplexing. Yes a couple is okay but they need a solid every day infielder & 1 more starter. Tanaka will be wooed by many so no sure shot there plus very few 5Japanese pitchers match their Motherland stats. But he should be good. Darvish is only half Japanese the other Iranian. This my have added to his 6-5 size which probably gives him more arm power. Damn, where’s my shovel?

  • There’s the Door

    Bad signing. Not a clutch pitcher. Worse because it further imperils 189.

    • BFDeal


  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I feel sad and numb reading this thread.

    Thornton: Fine. Whatever. Him and Cabral could give the pen a double-lefty look. I don’t see him as the guy who adds veteran depth to the late innings or anything. Still would like to see that guy come in and act as Kelley insurance. Not complaining about the signing, though. Good veteran hand in the bullpen, even if somewhat diminished.

  • An Agitated Reader

    Why did no one apply O:S to Jeter’s Parting Gift Basket/Nelson?

  • RetroRob

    His average fastball was still over 94 mph. Not what he was at his peak, but as a lefty he still has gas in the talk. Basically, pretty low cost by today’s standards and his track record.

    He’ll have a better year in NY than Logan will in CO.

  • Get Phelps Up (looking for a new name)

    I thought it would take a while for us to top the Mark Ellis thread. Boy was I wrong.