Aug
06

Moving Thornton creates flexibility, appears to be a precursor to a bigger move

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"What'd they trade you for?" "Nothing." "Ouch." (Presswire)

“What’d they trade you for?” “Nothing.” “Ouch, dude.” (Presswire)

Yesterday afternoon, the Yankees dumped lefty reliever Matt Thornton on the Nationals after Washington claimed him off trade waivers. The Yankees literally gave Thornton away — the Nats claimed him and the Bombers could have pulled him back off revocable waivers, but they opted to send him and the $4.5M or so left on his contract south to the nation’s capital for no return. It was a surprising move only because the Yankees need as much pitching as they can get these days.

“We have some young left-handers who are emerging quickly that we’re excited about,” said Brian Cashman to Dan Martin after the move was announced. “It’s about flexibility in 2014 and 2015. I’m not shut down for business, whether it’s buying, whether it’s reshuffling the deck, as we’re doing today … We’ve been mixing and matching all year. That’s not going to stop. I can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Both Cashman and Joe Girardi cited the team’s collection of upper level lefty bullpen prospects — Tyler Webb, James Pazos, and 2014 second round pick Jacob Lindgren were all mentioned by name — as one reason why they let Thornton go. (Girardi didn’t seem to fully trust him, which I’m guessing made the move easier.) It seems they simply believe they can replace him from within and better use that $4.5M elsewhere. Given their recent history with veteran lefty relievers on multi-year contracts, dumping Thornton before he went all Damaso Marte or Pedro Feliciano on them makes sense.

Soon after the deal, Ken Rosenthal reported the Yankees are “working on other things” and could reallocate the savings from Thornton elsewhere. I know $4.5M doesn’t sound like much, especially when the team has a $200M+ payroll and $3.5M of the $4.5M comes next year, but Hal Steinbrenner is very focused on the bottom line and it does appear the club is bumping up against some kind of payroll limit. Hal reportedly had to give Cashman approval to up payroll at the trade deadline, and even then they had cash thrown into the Brandon McCarthy ($2.05M), Chase Headley ($1M), and Stephen Drew ($500K) deals.

The Yankees are presumably still looking to add some rotation help this month — Chuck Garfien noted Yankees special assistant Jim Hendry was in Chicago scouting the White Sox last night, presumably because the very available John Danks was pitching (he got capital-D destroyed) — and the Thornton deal gives them some extra money to make that happen. Not having that roster spot married to a specific veteran pitcher makes swapping out players easier as well, even if we’re only talking about calling up fresh arms whenever they’re needed. (Like today.)

I don’t see this as the Yankees admitting signing Thornton was a mistake. Not at all. Circumstances have changed over the last few months and right now the financial and roster flexibility is more valuable to them than a good but not great left-handed specialist. It’s not often you get to simply walk away from a contract like that, even a relatively small one like Thornton’s. The Yankees took advantage and are now in position to use the savings elsewhere, specifically on a rotation upgrade. I don’t think getting rid of Thornton was the endgame. I think it was the first domino.

Categories : Trade Deadline
  • TWTR

    I don’t think I am going out on a limb by thinking that Lindgren will end Cashman’s long-standing search for a top LH reliever.

    • Hawkeye

      They’re probably going to use Lindgren to handle all types of batters given his skill level. I’m guessing that they will still want a lefty specialist in some capacity.

  • Mark Teixeddarda

    They could have used another pen pitcher last night. I hope they just go with one of the kids. One place the Yanks have actually had success in the farm is with relievers – Delin, Warren, Robertson. Capuano is going to get exposed in the AL East pennant race so hopefully they get another starter. DFA Daley, DFA Hill.

    • acx

      Problem is they already have 13 pitchers on the roster, leaving a very short bench. Daley just handed them a meatball, but it happens. No team has 25 perfect players. Even the first place Tigers have holes.

      I cannot wait to see some of these guys like Lindgren and even read Cashman imply Banuelos COULD see some time up here in September.

      • JAG

        I really want to see Venditte before he leaves as a minor-league free agent. Surely he can’t be worse than Daley or one of these other scrap-heap guys. His minor-league stats are actually not bad.

        Pipe dream, I know.

        • Hawkeye

          I’d throw in a vote for Venditte. At the very least he would provide some “freak show” value. I use that term lightly, but he would be fun to watch.

        • Masahiro Dinero

          +1 for Venditte getting the call up

          He’s been pitching well of late, and offers great matchup opportunities in a taxed bullpen.

  • Clay_Bellinger

    This is what I was thinking, or at least hoping, yesterday. Opening a spot for a Phelps replacement.

  • Cashmoney

    I thought it was good move to shed Thornton’s salary. Dunno if there is anything big to be done at this point. Bigger than Thornton, sure.

    • Delbert Grady

      I also think they saw it as a chance to shed salary. With waiver wire claims you have no idea if you’re getting the player or not. The only thing I thought was perhaps they wanted to shed the money to put towards Rusney Castillo.

  • blake

    Yea I have to think this was a step to a bigger move now….and Cashman sorta eluded to that possiblity yesterday.

    You dont just drop a decent lefty reliever for no reason to save 4 million bucks for 2015 if you’re the Yankees…..they could have dumped that money in the offseason if they tried hard enough.

    We all know Lindgren is coming but he’s not here yet and every game counts….

    • TWTR

      I think the trust issue was a real factor. Girardi seemed to use him less in important situations.

      • blake

        I guess….but does he trust Huff?

        • TWTR

          At the moment. Although there is no reason to expect it to continue based on his career, he has been surprisingly good here this time in his 24 IP.

          • acx

            Huff has actually been pretty good this time around, all things considered.

            I hope the salary dump is a precursor to a Robertson extension…

            • Mister D

              15 BB in 106 PA.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          He’s used him in medium and high leverage situations. He trusts him more than the average RAB reader. That’s for sure.

  • trr

    This be the case, why not bring up one of those young’uns and get them acclimated now? Why wait ’til September?

    • Cashmoney

      I believe the two internal candidates I read about are Lindgren, whom has just arrived in AA (a good testing ground for him, imo), the other, Webb has just been promoted to AAA, my guess is when Hill and Daley implodes it will be Webb who is first in line. that’s my guess.

      • TWTR

        They are just placeholders for some predetermined timeline.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      We may be one Rich Hill implosion away from that.

    • John in Forest

      The problem comes with adding a player to the 40-man roster. Webb, Pazos, and Lindgren have short track records in the pros and are too valuable to lose with no return. Once on the 40-man, they have to stay there or be waived to be removed; they’d surely be claimed by another team. If they’re promoted before they’re ready, they’d have to stay on the 40-man, tying up a spot until they’re ready to pitch in the majors. So the staff needs to be sure that once promoted, they’re ready for the majors (or at least AAA).

      • trr

        Good point, thanks John.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        If they’ve pitched that badly that they’d be at risk of losing their 40-man spot, something has gone very wrong with them.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

    Moving Thronton makes a ton of sense, but how long are the Yankees going to have Rich Hill in the pen? If you are going to get rid of your primary lefty reliever, you would think they would replace him immediately with someone who would inspire a little confidence. Anytime Rich Hill comes into a game, it is Murphys law.

    *Side note I was able to use a little trick so I could get my user name back on WordPress. Still resenting the LoHud people, but it is good that things didnt change that much*

    • Mark Teixeddarda

      I don’t think they need a lefty specialist. I trusted Robertson, Delin, Kelley and even Warren over Thorton to get a tough lefty out. Recently only Marte worked out for them in the 09 playoffs.

      • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

        I agree that it isn’t a absolute necessity as you said they definitely have the guys that can just get guys regardless of what side they bat, it has more to do with replacing someone who was good (not great) with someone who is completely awful in Rich Hill. Yes it isn’t a forever move but as you saw last night, having a deep bullpen is necessary especially with this team having starters that consistently struggle to get through 5+ IP.

  • CashmanNinja

    I’m wondering if they’re going the cheaper/better route in Lindgren in order to put some money towards Rusney Castillo.

    • blake

      that would be a very Padres way of operating…..for me this only makes sense if they are gonna use the money saved towards somebody for the now.

      • CashmanNinja

        And Castillo would be for the now … the guy isn’t a minor league prospect. Whoever gets him will have him play right away. Maybe he’ll get some minor league games to get his feet wet, but he’s not going to stay in the minors for months; he’s going to be playing at the MLB level.

        • blake

          yea but what I meant was that I don’t think Thronton’s salary should have any bearing on whether they go after Castillo…..if they like him then get him either way.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Castillo would most likely need at least a couple of weeks in the minors as a pseudo-spring training, especially for the Yankees.

          No way they sign him and he’s in the majors right away. At this point he’d most likely be a Sept. callup at best.

  • novymir

    Bringing up an untested rookie ( Lindgren, Webb et al) in the middle of a race? I don’t see that happening.

    Reminds me of 2001 when writers from NY Times intimated that the Yankees should have called up Nick Johnson, and sit Tino. Joba was the exception, and not the rule.

    • CashmanNinja

      Lindgren is an upgrade over Thornton. Have you seen how many inherited runners Thornton had been allowing to score? He ranks 3rd in both inherited runners and 3rd in inherited runners that scored.

      He’s come into games with 43 inherited runners on base…he’s allowed 14 of them to score. FOURTEEN. 33% of inherited runners scored. Yeah.

      • The Ox

        We don’t know that for sure. Lindgren hasn’t mad one pitch in the Majors. He may implode due to the pressure of pitching in front of 50,000 people during a pennant race.

        • BigDavey88

          ~30,000*

          ;)

        • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

          That won’t be a problem. YS3 hasn’t been putting much more than 40,000 in the stands.

          • The Ox

            I was assuming they were playing an away game. ;-)

    • Clay_Bellinger

      I don’t recall that talk in ’01, but that’s crazy. That was one of Tino’s better years.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’m not even sure how you strike out 30 guys in 13 1/3 innings.

      I’m fine with it as long as you’re easing him into being the situational lefty. You’re not having him face Ortiz in the eighth on day one.

      • JAG

        If my math is right, that’s a 75% K rate? Even just on the face of 30 Ks/13.1 innings, that’s insane.

        • Mister D

          54.5%. Denominator is PA, not outs.

  • Pkyankfan69

    Dumping Thornton would have made a lot more sense if one of the young lefties was ready to be called up to take his place. Going from Thornton to a bum like Rich Hill in the middle of a playoff race, with an already tired BP, to save a few million bucks smells like a Wilpon move, not a Steinbrenner move. I don’t even think Thornton is all that great (I didn’t even like it when we signed him) but he has been pretty solid recently and he’s clearly an upgrade over Rich Hill… Again, if Lindgren was ready and coming to replace him, then sure, dump Thornton and let’s get younger and hopefully better, but downgrading the BP to save a few million (even if it’s a slight downgrade) does not seem like a very Yankee like move.

    I also get why we wouldn’t want Thornton and his $3.5M on the books for next year considering the lefty RP’s we have on the way. But why couldn’t we just move Thornton in the offseason? Boone Logan signed a 3 year – $16.5 M contract last offseason, someone would have given us a bag of balls for Thornton and his $3.5M next year. Overall not a huge deal either way, mostly just surprised the Yanks would consider downgrading a team that is trying to fight and scrap it’s way into the playoffs, however slight that downgrade might be, to save a few million bucks.

    • Kosmo

      Thornton is simply put not a very effective loogy. He´s pitched in what ? 42 games for a grand total of 24 or so innings.

      NY as it´s been pointed out might make or have a waiver deal in place.
      I´m more than curious to see what transpires from now until August 25th.

      • Pkyankfan69

        Your replacing a guy with a 2.55 ERA and 1.18 WHIP (and lefties hitting .250/.306/.250/.556) with a bum off the street… It’s undeniably a downgrade in the short term to save a few bucks. Thornton is decent at best but ‘decent at best’ is better than what we have now in his place.

      • Jersey Joe

        I agree that Thornton isn’t that effective, but Rich Hill put up similar numbers in AAA as Matt Thornton – a downgrade is not acceptable at this point in the season. We need to make a move fast, or the move just doesn’t make much sense.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Rich Hill is the second-to-last guy out of the bullpen right now. It’s not THAT big a downgrade.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            They really can’t afford any downgrade.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Thornton to Huff, which is the more likely comparison, is potentially even less of a downgrade.

              What I can get out of Huff’s SSS with the Yankees this season looks promising. I’m not even going to try to compare advanced statistical stuff with you, as you smoke me in that regard.

              Hill is most probably back-end fodder, and I’m far more concerned about the amount of back-end fodder we’ve got (hello, Matt Daley) than I am specifically about one guy.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting

                That’s kind of the issue though. Thornton was strictly back end fodder. He was more in the middle ground, a step above guys like Daley, Hill, Huff, etc, but well below DRob, Betances, Warren, and Kelley.
                I really don’t care that Thornton isn’t on the team anymore. I care that they didn’t replace him with somebody better/more useful.

                • Need Pitching & Hitting

                  Thornton *wasn’t* strictly back end fodder.

                  • Jorge Steinbrenner

                    So the question, to me, becomes whether Huff, in the short-term, can rise to middle ground status.

    • emac2

      I think this was more of an opportunity based on the sudden ability to dump Thornton. I don’t think it’s part of a bigger plan.

      They couldn’t afford a 1 or 2 out pitcher with this staff. If they can use Banuelos and get 3 innings twice a week instead it would take a pretty big load off the pen.

      I would bring up Banuelos and Lindgren. I don’t think either one of them would be worse than the two guys they replace.

      • Kosmo

        that´s the idea. I don´t think Banuelos is coming but Lindgren or Webb are strong candidates for a callup or a waiver wire deal for someone unbeknownst.

        • emac2

          Why don’t you think they would call up Banuelos? He actually strikes me as the most ready and the best fit. He’s given up 3 hits in his last 14 innings and can go 5 innings. He could take the innings of two of the guys in the pen.

          • acx

            I would be so excited it Banuelos was promoted – Maybe even give him a start in September.

            I know they want to get him back on track and hopefully he is starting to turn back into that guy that looked like our next developed lefty in the rotation….

            Still think he has it in him.

      • Pkyankfan69

        I agree with most of this… But they need to get one of those guys up now. These games are too important to be running a bum like Rich Hill (who didn’t even resemble a ML pitcher last night) pitching in a close ballgame.

        • emac2

          I actually agree with that. Banuelos is supposed to start today and I would have him up here instead.

          I don’t think they expected to have to replace him and probably decided Hill should be given a shot before getting cut. I don’t expect more than a single outing unless he’s good, in which case there are a few others that aren’t impressing.

    • Bigdan

      I agree with these points completely. This is very def a downgrade right now. And I’m not sure it is a precursor to a specific move because the savings this year is less than a million. While the $3.5MM next year could help some, it’s entirely conceivable that Thornton could have been moved in the offseason. I think the waiver claim surprisingly presented the Yanks with an opportunity to save on Thornton’s contract now and they took it, even though it places this season at greater risk. Even if one game is jeopardized by this move that could be the difference in the Yanks making the playoffs and that jeopardy may have taken place last night in the 7th inning.

      As Pkyankfan69 says, this doesn’t seem like a Steinbrenner move because it isn’t. At least not a George Steinbrenner move. This is pure Hal and it should give us insight into how Hal may behave in the future. I don’t think this means he’s looking to cut next year’s budget (but it actually might). I think what it does mean is he’s always on the look out for some savings so he can reallocate. Hence the Drob situation. The development of young relief pitchers internally, in addition to this past draft, may present Hal with a chance to save money on the bullpen next year, an opportunity not so different then this waiver claim. Hal may be planning to take that opportunity and use scarce remaining funds for something the Yanks need more than a $10MM+ closer.

      • OldYanksFan

        So you believe the Yankees would intentionally DOWNGRADE this team to save ONE million dollars?

        I don’t know what’s coming, but I have more faith in Cashman than you do.

        • Bigdan

          It’s already happened. The team has been downgraded. Thornton is better than Hill and if Thornton had been around, Girardi may have used him to protect the lead in the 7th last night.

          It would be one thing if Thornton were replaced by Lindgren or better yet, a pitcher Girardi actually trusted. But he was replaced by a clearly inferior pitcher. In a sense, the damage has already been done. At least some of it.

  • gbyanks

    lets get jacob turner from the marlins. Idk how the guys is out of options at 23 but w/e we have been all about buying low on guys with good FIP. Let keep it going and possible have a 23 year pitcher in the organization

    • acx

      He will never drop to the Yankees on waivers.
      Someone will claim him before he gets to them.

      • JAG

        Yeah, he won’t. They should, of course, put in a claim on him, but they won’t get him first.

  • W.B. Mason Williams

    I really hope all the scouting has given the Yankees 0 reason to go after Danks.

    As fans, there are plenty of times when the pitching line doesn’t match professional scouting opinions, but I just can’t see any upside for this guy, like at all. I’m almost 100% convinced that a rookie Mitchell being given a shot at the rookie pay level would be worth more than Danks, even if the White Sox pick up a bunch of money. Danks seems almost guaranteed to throw a clunker on the regular at this point. This guy is the barest possible definition of “eating innings”. He will eat them, and you will lose the games in which those innings take place.

    • Kosmo

      I´m not by any means on the Danks bandwagon BUT he has pitched effectively in 14 of his 23 starts.
      I´m hoping Cashman has something better up his sleeve.

      • acx

        So he has been not effective in 40% of his games?
        And I am assuming you didn’t see the disaster that was his start last night?
        No thanks! He is expensive and not at all an improvement over even Capuano.

        • Kosmo

          by way of comparision his ratio of effective performances is better than David Phelps and he pitches deeper into games than Phelps does.
          Would you please get off “he is expensive“ track, NY would never pay anywhere near what is owed to Danks if in fact NY remains interested.
          Yes I did read about his start last night.

          Finally just to be clear I did say I was not by any means on the Danks bandwagon.

      • W.B. Mason Williams

        Fair enough. Maybe I’m overreacting.

        Still do not want.

  • Rickk

    I think the loss of Thornton stings in the short term, but was certainly better for the future of the team. I also believe this was a precursor to another move, though I have no idea what that move may be. Admittedly, I could see the move as more for the future than the present. $3.5M next year is more important than ~$1M this year. Allows the team to either acquire a different player at that salary, or increase the AAV of a bigger FA.

    Agree with Mike that the team is certainly operating with a budget. It’s very difficult to think otherwise based upon the moves they’re making.

    • OldYanksFan

      I think it’s a smart budget… meaning they will save money where they can, and Cashman will continue to make smart/buy low trades like the last 4.

      However, I believe the Yankees ALWAYS have the money, if a difference maker becomes available at a not-so-horrible contract.

      I don’t think the Yankees are opposed to spending money.
      I do think they are tired of throwing it away… just because they have deep pockets.

      Hal understands that NY needs a Winner… or at least a team trying to Win. There are still lots of empty seats at the stadium. And those that are filled probably paid a discounted price. They simply can’t get close to the attendance money they planned for, unless they put a Winner, or at least an exciting team, on the field.

      The Yankees got 4 of the top 8 FAs last Winter.
      They are obviously not afraid to spend money.

      • Rickk

        Oh I definitely agree. I didn’t mean to at all imply that they were being cheap and were afraid to spend money. I meant to imply what you stated – that they are being more conscientious about the money they spend. I’m all for running the team similar to a well run business that attempts to maximize profits. I much prefer that to the wild spending each year and then try to cover it up later.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        They also substantially lowered payroll in the process, while leaving several major question marks on the team. (Granted some of that was because of lack of great options on the market after they passed on Cano).

        The Yankees payroll as a % of league payroll has declined every year since 2005.

        • TWTR

          Perhaps the league payroll is growing so fast that last season’s $230m still fits the criterion, but it’s hard to imagine much of that money being spent more poorly.

      • Scott47

        OYF,

        that’s a great post. TY.

        I agree, I don’t think Hal won’t spend the cash, but he doesn’t want to blow, ala Patrick Ewing (“sure we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot money.” during the NBA lock out years ago).

        Smart business men are succesful because they make money and don’t spend it foolishly. I think Hal is, as you say, looking to save money where he can (like a LOOGY), and spend smartly (like Headley and McCarthy – improvements to the team).

        • TWTR

          Hal is the guy who, along with his brother, signed off on A-Rod’s crazy contract despite objections from his GM. He also signed off on CC’s extension despite his age and aggregate IP.

          He is basically a businessman because his father made an incredible investment in the ’70s.

          With all the holes they are likely to have on the roster for next season, if he doesn’t spend really big, it could be problematic.

          • Scott47

            2007 was Hank’s year to be the front man for the team. Him and Randy Levine signed off on A-Rod. Hal took over as the go to guy because Hank isn’t as shrewd a business man and his mouth makes him an asshat. I don’t pin A-rod on Hal at all.

            And in 2011 when CC was pending FA, most of us wanted him resigned and needed the Yanks to resign him. I have no problem with the CC contract at the time.

            • TWTR

              Not true:

              On Nov. 8, as Levine and Hal Steinbrenner drove to Naples, Fla., from Tampa for a meeting of baseball owners, they received a call from Cardinale. Rodriguez had agreed to the basics of the deal. At that point, the Yankees had to get Boras involved, and told Rodriguez that. Boras was still Rodriguez’s designated representative and the only one mandated to supervise Rodriguez’s interests.

              On Nov. 14, Rodriguez and his wife, Cynthia, flew in from Miami. They sat in Hal Steinbrenner’s living room over coffee and iced tea with Hal and Hank Steinbrenner. Levine was there, too, as was Cashman.

              As for CC, we’re just fans. It was a bad contract and like the bad contract he agreed to with A-Rod, it’s on his ledger.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Come on, people. Jon Danks was only the losing pitcher in a 16-0 blowout yesterday. How bad could it be?

    Agree that this is more about clearing that roster spot for a Lindgren or Webb as early as this season, or as late as in the off-season, than it is about a dollar number. Then again, we all know who has the EXACT budget numbers around here now…

    How many YES minions did it take to research the existence of Lindgren, Pazos, and Webb last night? Just their mere mention, as well as Cashman’s words, spells this out pretty clearly.

    • acx

      Extra $$$$ for Robertson..

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Nah.

      I know people want to cry budget tightness, but I don’t think it’s to that extreme.

      Perhaps it’s about allocation for another August move. I honestly think it’s more about the 25-man spot for the next year and change.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        That 25-man roster spot could have just as easily been created at any future time by dumping Thornton if/when they actually had a better option in place.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          True. The opportunity here presented itself, though, and they couldn’t help themselves.

          No explanation as to waiver versus DFA to offer.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            $$$

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Of course, Duh. Gets DFA’ed and not claimed, you’re still on the hook for the salary.

              I can’t fault them for that too much, even if it leads to a couple of weeks of Rich Hill.

    • Rickk

      Jorge, you just need to listen closely. Cashman & Co. reveal everything.

    • Scott47

      Guy gave up 9 ERs in 4.2 innings with 5 BBs and 4 HRs. I thought about a week ago he might not be a bad get for an innings eater. Now no way.

  • Bubba

    I was a bit surprised that they couldn’t pry at least a C prospect out of the Nats for Thornton.

    • acx

      He probably said, we have enough C-level prospects already.
      The $$$ mean more to them now and that’s fine.
      Cashman managed to get money in almost all of the deals he made last month.

      If they really are on a budget of sorts, that money will be important to either extend guys or to bring in a starter.

  • oldmanalex

    test

    • Tar

      There was no reason for Hill to be in the game last night.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Twelve-inning game? All hands on deck.

      • TWTR

        How did Victor Martinez steal a base off of a LHP?

        • HansDavenport

          I missed the game. Flash Martinez stole a base?

          • TWTR

            Ultimately, no harm done, but:

            BASERUNNING
            SB: V Martinez (3, 2nd base off R Hill/B McCann)

  • Captain Clutch

    I think this move is more about saving money for next year instead of to help this years team. They are going to have to spend a ton of money this off season and getting rid of Thornton was one way to save some dough. I don’t mind the move because I never trusted him but you can’t replace him with Hill.

    • The Ox

      Agree with this.

  • grouchonyy

    Two moves have to be made in the next week or so. A starter is needed for Friday. Hopefully, Pineda will return next week some time. Both will require roster adjustments. Thornton might have been toast anyway.

  • Tar

    Last night’s issues have been taken care of. Thanks Mike.

  • RayVT

    I’m not sure that the Thornton dumping was a salary dump but a the Yanks don’t trust him dump. Once he hit the waiver wire it would be easy to let him walk w/o disparaging him. Let the writers conclude what they want.

    The Yanks are always talking frugalness & trying to lower what is expected from them on trades and salary dumps from other teams.

  • pecos

    No dispute here about the need to be frugal. However, the Yankees are amazingly unfrugal on other occasions.

    • RayVT

      Very true. More like penny wise & dollar foolish. Of course George was like that a lot as well.

    • TWTR

      They have just taken on bigger salaries than they sent back for McCarthy, Headley, Drew, and Prado.

      What they were too “frugal” about was attempting to sign some of Darvish, Chapman, Puig, Cespedes, probably because of the illusory goal of a $189m budget.

      Ironically, that frugality actually ending up costing them money, and will continue to do so.

  • Rickk

    Off Topic Disclosure: Padres hired AJ Preller from Texas, I guess this means Eppler stays.

    Also off topic: David Lennon of Newsday tweets that the Red Sox and Rays both received permission from their owners to trade their left-handed aces to any team in baseball, with one exception: the Yankees.

  • Bigdan

    This move is so odd, and so seemingly un-Yankee like, to downgrade a team in the middle of pennant race to save so little money right now, one must now consider the possibility, as unlikely as it seems, that Hal’s true intent is to cut next year’s budget, from his current historical levels of around $210MM to whatever.

    I think this is very unlikely. I think this move is more likely a reallocation. But if the goal were to actually cut next year’s budget, this move, right now, makes a lot a sense.

    • pecos

      Unless they can pull a rabbit or two out of a hat, paying Arod, Sabathia and possibly Tanaka for very little, if any, return in 2015 would make cutting next year’s budget virtually impossible.

      • Bigdan

        Not really. It’s actually pretty simple. You just don’t sign anyone. Accounting for Arod and arbitration stuff and the cheap guys, I’d say the payroll is around $187 now for next year. Hal still could add $10-12MM and come in around $10MM below this year, hence a budget cut.

        I don’t think Hal’s has ever really been totally comfortable being the only team spending $200MM+ a year on salaries. Now he has the Dodgers so he’s not alone. That probably makes him feel a bit better. But I think he’d rather be below $200MM if he could.

        Mind you, I don’t think that is his plan. I think it’s much more likely that Hal will raise the budget next year than lower it. But since we are all taking out the crystal ball now and trying to read the tea leaves (nice mixed metaphor), we can’t totally discount the possibility of a budget cut next year.

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    From the moment Lindgren was drafted, NYY said he was a polished RP who could be brought up as early as September. Who would trade for Thornton in the offseason? Who would want to cut him and still pay him through 2015 if we brought up Lindgren in Sept? So our last/second to last RP takes a step back for August. Seems like a good longterm move…and if the salary is used to acquire someone else (starting pitching?) bonus.

  • mt

    I do think this move is more about next year than this year – they have a lot more young lefty candidates right now than they could have imagined when they signed Thornton so I think that has a lot to do with it. I am not sure why Cashman leapt at this now rather than waiting for off-season – we’ll see if there is another move this year.

    Clearly they do have a budget – the amounts that they have gotten back for Drew, MCCarthy and Headley are also small but they still went and ahead and asked the other clubs for it – if there was no budget, wouldn’t they have at least gotten another C or even D prospect in one of the trades rather than getting back the grand sum of $3.55 million?

    I just don’t see Lindgren being up this year but maybe I will be surprised.

    As far as this year, it’s just that Rich Hill is a downgrade from Thornton so there is some impact even if small. I guess we should look at it that Huff is elevated to replace the role that Thornton was supposed to play (main LOOGY, also expected to get righties out too) and Hill is now one of the “only use in case of emergency” players until the next shoe drops, whether it be today, tomorrow, later this month, or definitely with September 1 expansion of rosters.

    The main problem lurking behind all of this is that we continue to play close games so we can never use the Hills and Whitleys of the world only in blow-outs (what’s a blowout even look like; it’s been so long) and maybe not have to use the reliever quartet Betances/Kelly/DRob/Warren so much.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      This team has really struggled to get a decent back-end of the bullpen going this year. Granted, that should be a bit of a struggle, as it’s where the worst MLB pitchers on your team resides, but it’s felt particularly weak this year. How many journeymen long men have we been through without one sticking?

      Where have you gone, Preston Claiborne? (I know where.)

  • Samwise

    Rich Hill replaced him, so as far as 2014 is concerned this was a sell.

    Maybe, just maybe, they are considering selling off if they feel they fall out of it.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Not happening.

      And, again, more like Huff is replacing him and Hill is replacing Huff.

    • Scott47

      Not a chance. First off they aren’t out of it (one GB in the WC), second these are the Yanks.

    • Clay_Bellinger

      No chance. They’ve added numerous players recently and, more importantly, are a half game out of a playoff spot.

      • Clay_Bellinger

        Excuse me.. one game out of a playoff spot.

  • Scott47

    Still surprised no one blamed last night’s loss on not having Thornton.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Happened above, somewhere.

      • Scott47

        I missed it, but i am not surprised. I thought that would be the argument of the day.

        I like the letting go of Thornton. I felt like whenever he got put in, my pucker factor increased by 10, especially with men on base. As Mike mentioned in the article, I don’t think Joe trusted him.

        It was a good signing in the off-season, didn’t work out like I thought but some do, some don’t.

  • Craig

    These are the kinds of moves Cash is usually great at. Looking forward to what he’ll do.

  • mt

    Rather than Thornton not being there, last night’s loss unfortunately is based more on the fact that our main bullpen guys are tired due to all the close games we have been playing – do you think Kuroda would still be pitching in the seventh to give up the tying run after the first or even the second of the three singles if the quartet Betances/Kelly/Warren/DRob were well rested? (Warren and DRob were completely unavailable apparently).

    The problem with the game is that Yanks have no margin for error within games and overall given the pretty large hole they are in for division and four or five teams still in it for the one spot (the 2nd WC): even though there were a lot of positives last night – scoring three runs off David Price who has been hot the last six weeks; extra base power including HRs, good defense, especially from Headley, and pretty good relief pitching (one run in five innings is good) – the fact of the matter is Yankees still lost.

    • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

      This. Even though is pitch count was in the 80s at the start of the 7th inning it was apparent that Kuroda was running out of gas, as he has done the past 2 Augusts. Gotta think that if the pen was rested you would have saw Warren right out there. Kelly stepping up has been big for the pen thus far but now that Thornton is gone there is one more unreliable guy then someone who even though hasn’t missed any bats has been effective most of the year.

  • 86w183

    You hold a team to three runs over eleven innings you should win, period. Blaming this loss on a tired bullpen is like blaming the Knicks season on ugly uniforms.

    • FLYER7

      Those Orange Knicks unis are pretty ugly and they never won wearing them!

  • Deep Thoughts

    I took Cashman’s comments literally. Like, he was going to spend that $4.5MM on a phalanx of flexibility coaches and Pilates instructors for Teixeira, Beltran, CC, etc. I will be disappointed if this is not the case.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      He could save money by just buying some foam blocks and those rings they put between their knees to work the core.

      And a few Pilates videos.

  • Farewell Mo

    No problem dumping Thornton however it does concern my that Hal is so concerned with the bottom line with the payroll only around $200 million. They should easily be able to blow it out to $220-225 without problem IMO.