With key injuries to both left handed pitchers Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales, it was inevitable for the Boston Red Sox to acquire another south paw to help out the team’s bullpen before the trade deadline.
On Friday night, the team acquired veteran Chicago White Sox left handed relief pitcher Matt Thornton in exchange for Double-A outfielder Brandon Jacobs. Thornton joins Craig Breslow in the Red Sox bullpen and will give the team a much needed veteran presence.
In 40 games pitched for White Sox, this season, he has compiled a 0-3 record with 3.86 ERA in 28 innings. This season, Thornton has held left handed hitters to a .173 average and to a .228 life time average.
One area that Thornton will help Boston out in addition to his ability to left handed batters out is his versatility. Over his 10 year career, he has served as part time closer, situational lefty and setup man. Since 2008, he has led all lefty relievers in strikeouts with 382 and has 169 career holds.
Thornton gets outs with a mid 90’s fastball and a good slider that enables him to get both strikeouts and groundouts.
Jacobs, a 2009 10th round draft pick, spent most of the 2013 season with High-A Salem and hit .244 11 HRs and 44 RBIs in 81 games. He was recently promoted to Double-A Portland before being dealt to Chicago.
Going forward, it was hard to see Jacobs have much of a future with the Red Sox since his slow development to hit advanced pitching was a continuing problem and that he was Rule 5 draft eligible after the season. If he makes adjustments at the plate, Jacobs could have a chance at becoming a backup outfielder in the major leagues he is still only 22 and still has a chance to develop.
The plan, according to manager John Farrell, Thornton is expected be a situational lefty for Boston pitching in the sixth and seventh innings. If he doesn’t pan out, the Red Sox can buy out Thornton for $1 million or pick up this 2014 option for $ 6 million.
All in all, this is the right move for the Red Sox to do since Thornton gives them that needed boast in the bullpen for the stretch run.