Thornton’s early struggles have me worried.
The Red Sox could have used another lefty in the pen along with Andrew Miller. When Miller went down for the year the front office needed to add a southpaw. The Sox lamented the idea of trading a prospect for a veteran reliever, but their hand was forced. Why the hesitation pre-Miller injury?
Let’s review the tape.
Eric Gagne, 2007
In 2007 Gagne was elite with the Texas Rangers. In 34 innings he gave up only eight earned runs. When he came to Red Sox near the end of the trade deadline fans rejoiced. Unfortunately, the cheers soured as quickly as Gagne’s career did in Boston. In twenty games he gave up fourteen earned runs. His ERA ballooned from 2.16 to 3.81. The prospect traded to the Rangers? David Murphy, who has averaged a .278/.340/.444 line and double digit jacks every year since the trade.
Mark Melancon, 2012
Melancon was solid for the Astros in 2011, saving twenty games. He was brutal for the Sox in 2012. He served it up every time he went out finishing with a 6.20 ERA in 45 innings. We gave up middle infielder Jed Lowrie. Lowrie is now on the A’s and hitting a cool .283.
Andrew Bailey, 2011
This shouldn’t be hard to remember. The former rookie of the year did not pitch his first year for the Sox. He came back this year only to struggle and ruin his shoulder. Yep, you guessed it, out for the year. Who did we give up? Josh Reddick, who hit 35 bombs his first full season with the A’s.
You can’t judge a guy by past player’s performances, but there is no denying the Sox terrible track record of trading for relief. Let’s hope Thornton can break the mold.