The New York Yankees are going to look a lot different in 2014. While they have spent big money on free agents Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, there have also been moments this off-season when they have been the team to pass on a player, letting another team spend more money.
This happened most notably, of course, when Robinson Cano inked a ridiculous $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. In less splashy news, they also let left-handed relief pitcher Boone Logan walk to the Colorado Rockies on a three-year, $16.5 million deal. Needing a replacement for Logan in the bullpen, the Yankees signed free agent Matt Thornton on Tuesday (reported by Jack Curry of YES):
Yankees have signed lefty reliever Matt Thornton to a 2-year deal. He will make $3.5 million each season.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 17, 2013
Once a notorious flame-thrower out of the bullpen, Thornton is coming off of a bit of a down season. Splitting time between the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox he made 60 appearances and logged a 3.74 ERA. The notable declines are in his K/9 rate (6.23) and his average fastball velocity (94.3, according to FanGraphs). Contrast that with the 12.02 K/9 and 96.1 average velocity from his 2010 season and you can start to see the steady decline that gave the Yankees the opportunity to sign Thornton on the cheap (relatively speaking). In addition to Logan’s contract with Colorado, for example, the Los Angeles Angels signed lefty reliever Joe Smith to a three year, $15 million deal this off-season.
Nobody is going to accuse the Yankees of being frugal, but they got a left-handed reliever who can still run it up there at 95 MPH for a good price.