Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

The best organizations in sports are willing to admit their mistakes and cut their losses when necessary.

It’s fair to wonder why the Red Sox haven’t done that with Tyler Thornburg.

Thornburg was lit up again Wednesday, giving up two runs on three doubles in mop-up duty. He has given up 12 runs in 12 appearances and now sports an ERA of 8.53.

Enough is enough. It’s time to cut ties.

The whole world can see that Thornburg won’t help the Red Sox win ballgames. Deep down, I’m sure Dave Dombrowski can recognize that too, but his pride seems to be stopping him from moving on from a pitcher who just can’t get the job done following thoracic outlet surgery.

For Dombrowski, trading Travis Shaw to Milwaukee for Thornburg represents the biggest blunder of his tenure in Boston. It is a blemish on an otherwise sparkling resume.

That blemish is only getting larger every time Thornburg takes the ball, but Dombrowski seems hellbent on giving the righty more chances than he deserves in the hopes he finally turns it around.

Thornburg isn’t on the roster because of merit. He’s on the roster because the boss has too much invested in him.

It’s good to have the boss on your side.

This past offseason, Dombrowski repeatedly suggested Thornburg could close games for the Red Sox in 2019, despite no evidence to support that Thornburg could stay healthy or pitch effectively. By putting Thornburg on the opening day roster, the Red Sox guaranteed his non-guaranteed $1.75 million salary, inching them even closer to the $246 million luxury tax threshold.

When Dombrowski didn’t acquire bullpen help at the deadline last July, he cited Thornburg as a reason why the decision would not come back to bite him.

“[Thornburg] has thrown the ball extremely well,” Dombrowski said on July 31. The right-hander went on to put up a 5.63 ERA in 25 low-leverage appearances.

The Red Sox bullpen, of course, ended up being just fine in October. Thornburg, however, was nowhere to be found. He was left off the postseason roster.

Dombrowski can talk up Thornburg all he wants, but the results don’t lie. Talk is cheap, and the rockets hit off this pitcher are anything but cheap.

It’s time to move on.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.

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