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Nationals acquire Matt Thornton from Yankees

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In a somewhat puzzling move, the Yankees have allowed the Nationals to acquire Matt Thornton for little beyond salary relief.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals have acquired southpaw reliever Matt Thornton from the New York Yankeesaccording to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. The Nationals were awarded a waiver claim on Thornton earlier today, and it appears the Yankees were willing to hand him over for next to nothing, as other than salary relief, it's unclear if the Yankees will receive anything in return.

Thornton fits the Nationals' need of a lefty arm perfectly, and the 37-year-old is actually in the midst of a very strong season. In 24.2 innings pitched, the 2010 All-Star has a 2.55 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 7.3 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9, all of which represent his best marks since his heyday with the White Sox in the late aughts and early 2010's. The trade represents Thornton's first move to the NL, as he has spent the entirety of his 11-year career in the American League with the Mariners, White Sox, Red Sox, and Yankees.

New York will save more than $4 million by giving up Thornton, as the left-hander is currently in the first year of a two-year, $7 million deal he signed with the Yankees over the offseason. Still, the move is somewhat puzzling considering the Yankees are very much in contention, and Thornton is a valuable piece to have.

Taking Thornton's place on the Yankees' active roster will be fellow left-hander Rich Hill, who has been called up from Triple-A. The move could also be foreshadowing a looming call-up for 2014 second rounder Jacob Lindgren, who has shot through the minors, and is already at Double-A less than two months after being drafted.