In a somewhat surprising roster move this afternoon, the Yankees are sending Matt Thornton to the Washington Nationals after the left-hander was placed on waivers by the Bombers today, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
By waiving Thornton's contract and sending him to the Nationals, the Yankees will save about $4 million that was left on his salary -- the rest of this season, plus the $3.5 million he's owed in 2015.
Thornton wasn't the best pitcher in the Yankees' bullpen this season after signing on during the winter, be he's been solid as the lefty out of the bullpen, posting a 2.33 ERA with 20 strikeouts and six walks in 24.2 innings this season. At 38-years-old, it would make sense that the Yankees don't want to be on the hook for him much longer, but they're losing a good bullpen arm with this move.
According to Daniel Barbarisi, left-hander Rich Hill, who signed a minor league deal with the Yankees a few weeks back, will be called up to take Thornton's place as the LOOGY in the bullpen.
In other waiver news, Heyman also reports that Brett Gardner, Stephen Drew, and Martin Prado have cleared waivers. Not that the Yankees are really trying to trade these guys at the moment, but it opens up the door down the road.
Gardner, who is in the final year of his contract before a four-year, $52 million extension kicks in, is hitting .286 with 15 homers, 50 RBI, 71 runs, 18 steals and an .831 OPS this season.
Both Prado and Drew were just acquired last week and it would be hard to see the Yankees having any interest moving either of them.
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