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White Sox trade Matt Thornton to Red Sox for minor-league outfielder

Matt Thornt(0-3 3.86 ERA this season) ranks first White Sox history relief appearances. | Bob Levey~Getty Images

Matt Thornton (0-3, 3.86 ERA this season) ranks first in White Sox history in relief appearances. | Bob Levey~Getty Images

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Updated: August 14, 2013 6:23AM



PHILADELPHIA — The White Sox’ veterans-for-prospects trading splurge has begun. General manager Rick Hahn dealt 36-year-old left-hander Matt Thornton to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night for minor-league outfielder Brandon Jacobs, a 22-year-old “power bat” who was rated as the Red Sox’ No. 11 prospect by MLB.com going into the season.

The Red Sox also will receive cash considerations.

Jacobs, 22, is hitting .247 with 25 doubles, 11 home runs, 44 RBI, 46 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in 85 minor-league games, all but four of them with Class A Salem. He was promoted to Class AA Portland on July 10 and likely will be assigned to Class AA Birmingham.

A 10th-round draft pick in 2009, Jacobs is a career .265 hitter with 47 homers, 216 RBI and 61 stolen bases in five minor-league seasons.

“He’s an athletic kid who projects to be a power bat and every-day outfielder,’’ said Hahn, adding that Jacobs is still in the development stage. “He’s a toolsy player with an upside we project to be an impact, every-day outfielder down the road if everything clicks.’’

Thornton (0-3, 3.86 ERA) ranks first in relief appearances in Sox history. He is under contract through this season and has a $6 million club option for 2014. According to a major-league source, the “cash considerations” in the deal is six figures and goes toward Thornton’s buyout on his option.

“Matt had a long and successful career,’’ Hahn said. “He achieved a lot of milestones, and his level of consistency and excellence is difficult to achieve. There were times in his tenure when he was probably the most valuable reliever in our bullpen. Not the guy getting the gaudy save totals, but getting the most important outs in high-leverage situations. He didn’t always get high accolades for what he did, and he was a great presence in the clubhouse.’’

Lefty Donnie Veal will return to the Sox on Saturday to take Thornton’s spot on the roster. Hahn said Thornton knew what was up when he saw Hahn’s number on his phone.

“I’m excited to go to Boston and begin another chapter in my career, and at the same time sad to be leaving a great organization where I have a lot of friends,’’ Thornton told the Sun-Times in a text message.

Keeping his sense of humor, Thornton added, “and multiple fantasy football championships.’’

The trade was not unexpected, with the Sox in last place in the American League Central. Other veterans are believed to be on the block, including Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Jesse Crain and more.

“We remain active on a number of different fronts and have had substantive talks on a number of scenarios,’’ Hahn said. “We’re going to keep talking and see where it leads in coming weeks.’’

Hahn said seven or eight teams were interested in Thornton “when things heated up last week or so. He was a popular guy.’’



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