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Red Sox Release Tyler Thornburg

The Boston Red Sox have announced they have released right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg from the team. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe first broke the news earlier this morning:

Red Sox released Tyler Thornburg.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 10, 2019

The team then confirmed it just after 1:30 PM EST.

The #RedSox today released RHP Tyler Thornburg.— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 10, 2019

So the Thornburg era has come to an end in Boston. It was a controversial one. Thornburg, a reliever with the Milwaukee Brewers, was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Travis Shaw and a few minor league prospects. His time in Milwaukee was inconsistent, but his four seasons altogether paint a respectable picture. He had a 2.87 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, and 9.0 SO/9.

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Thornburg on the Red Sox

Unfortunately, Thornburg was unable to bring that success with him. He developed arm issues early in 2017 spring training, and required thoracic outlet surgery. The right-hander missed all of 2017, and returned in 2018 to disappointing results. He posted a career-high 5.63 ERA in 24 innings, a career-high 1.583 WHIP and 10.5 H/9, 2.3 HR/9, and a 7.9 SO/9.

His 2019 started even worse, as his ERA jumped to 18.00 in the Opening Day fiasco that saw the Seattle Mariners thrash the Red Sox 12-4. Since then, he’s been wildly inconsistent. In his 16 appearances, 18.2 innings altogether, he’s allowed nine runs. His ERA sits at 7.71, with a 1.661 WHIP. Interestingly, hits H/9 and HR/9 are down, and his SO/9 has risen dramatically to 10.6. However, his walk rate has crippled any improvements.

The Red Sox were hoping Thornburg could return to pre-2017 form, as he could have been a huge boost to the beleaguered bullpen, but it appears they’ve finally given up on him. Put on the 10-day injured list for hip impingement, the club offered to send him down to Triple-A Pawtucket, but he refused and accepted his release.

The Thornburg trade will no doubt be seen as one of the worst moves in Dave Dombrowski’s tenure in Boston. His release is likely a preemptive move as the team makes space for an additional pitcher. Exactly who will be shipping up to Boston remains to be seen, but Mets starter Zach Wheeler has been linked to trade talks.

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