One of the worst trades in Seattle Mariners history - and that's a mouthful - figures to look worse today when the Chicago White Sox non-tender a contract to closer Bobby Jenks.
The moment that decision is made and Jenks becomes a free agent, the top Sox candidate to succeed him becomes left-hander Matt Thornton, a 34-year-old coming off an All-Star season as Chicago's setup man.
And yes, Mariners fans, the same Matt Thornton Seattle selected with the 22nd pick of the 1998 draft. The same Thornton whose 99-mph fastball carried him through the Mariners minor league system and, in 2004, got him to the big leagues as wild, raw reliever. After his first big-league game - four shutout innings - Thornton was smacked with a pie.
You never saw a happier victim.
What Thornton needed was patience. Seattle and general manager Bill Bavasi didn't have it. In the spring of 2006, Mariners center fielder Jeremy Reed hurt a wrist diving for a ball, and the team faced entering the regular season without a serviceable replacement.
Bavasi traded Thornton to Chicago for outfielder Joe Borchard. Borchard played six games as a Mariner, then was claimed off waivers by the Florida Marlins one month into the season.
Thornton, meanwhile, has appeared in 331 games for Chicago, compiling a 25-17 record with 18 saves and a 3.19 earned run average. Under contract next year for $3 million, he figures to close for the White Sox in 2011.
To find a comparable disaster, you'd have to go all the way back to, oh, the winter of 2006. That's when the Mariners - and Bavasi - sent reliever Rafael Soriano to the Atlanta Braves for soft-tossing lefty Horacio Ramirez.