As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports initially reported earlier this morning, the Padres have a deal in place with veteran reliever Matt Thornton, pending the results of a physical. Most recently a member of the Nationals, the 39-year-old lefty has made at least 60 major league appearances each of the past 10 seasons; he's best remembered as a member of the White Sox, for whom he pitched from 2006 through 2013, including his All-Star season of 2010.
Thornton is no longer the strikeout artist he was in his younger days, with his five punchouts per nine innings last season paling in comparison to both his career rate of 8.8 and the double digits he put up in the 2008, '09, and '10 seasons. He did post an impressive 2.18 ERA in 41.1 innings of work last year, thought that appears a bit deceptive alongside his FIP of 3.52. Historically, however, the two numbers are nearly identical; in 645.2 innings over 730 games, Thornton has an ERA of 3.35 and an FIP of 3.37.
Over the length of his career, Thornton has held both right- and left-handed batters in check almost equally well, although last season exhibited a more typical platoon split. In 1,519 plate appearances, right-handers have hit .240/ .324/ .359, while lefties have a .231/ .291/ .339 line in 1,203 trips to the plate. As you might expect, right-handers have walked far more often than lefties, with the left-handers taking the lion's share of strikeouts. In 2015, 83 right-handed batters hit ..229/ .333/ .359 with 10 walks and a dozen strikeouts; 88 lefties hit .198/ .205/ .279 with one walk and 11 strikeouts. This could be an indicator to how he will be utilized if he makes the Padres' 25-man roster.
Should Thornton in fact make the active roster, he'll receive $1.6 million in base pay with the opportunity to add $1.9 million more in incentives for number of games pitched, as reported by SB Nation's Chris Cotillo.
Source: Matt Thornton taking physical with #Padres this morning. In agreement on minor-league contract with invitation to spring training.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 3, 2016