Although the player to be named later is rumored to be the significant piece in the Ike Davis to Pittsburgh trade, the Mets also secured right-handed reliever Zack Thornton in the deal. Thornton will be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas, and could wind up in the major league bullpen sooner rather than later.
Feb 21, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Zack Thornton (74) poses for a photo at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Thornton, 25, first reached Triple-A in 2013, and posted a 3.91 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 25.1 innings of work. He struck out 31 and walked four.
Prior to the trade, Thornton had a 1.23 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 7.1 innings pitched in 2014 for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Thornton was left unprotected during the Rule V Draft but wasn’t selected. Any team could’ve had him for noting, but would’ve had to keep him on the 25-man roster all season or be forced to return him to Pittsburgh.
While Thornton went unselected in the Rule V Draft and wasn’t viewed as one of Pittsburgh’s better prospects, he does have value.
Here’s what John Sickels had to say about Thornton:
"Thornton is a 6-3, 220 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born May 19, 1988…his performance record is actually quite good, with a high strikeout rate, low walk rate, and lots of ground balls on his resume. His fastball isn’t especially fast in the upper-80s, low-90s range, but he uses a deceptive low three-quarters arm angle and keeps it low. His slider and changeup don’t draw raves but he’d doing something right, particularly against right-handed hitters. He’s not going to close games but has a shot at being a useful bullpen asset."
As the second piece in a deal for Ike Davis – who the Mets had buried on the bench – Thornton seems like a solid get.
Still, the key to the deal will be who the player to be named later is.