The Toronto Blue Jays will be tendering contracts to all candidates, except for catcher Josh Thole. The knuckleball specialist was projected to earn $1.8 million in arbitration, a number that’s admittedly high for what he brings to the table.
One has to assume that the Blue Jays front office is interested in returning Thole on a more team-friendly deal, which is a relatively common practice when a player’s arbitration number grows above an organization’s comfort level. Something closer to the league minimum than $1.8 million would better reflect Thole’s value, but with his ability to catch R.A. Dickey, his value to Toronto should exceed his value elsewhere in the league.
Toronto also remains extremely thin at catcher, with recent minor league signing Humberto Quintero and the oft-injured A.J. Jimenez offering the only depth that’s even close to being ready for an MLB game. Even with Thole in the fold, it seemed likely that Toronto would be in need of another catcher.
If Dickey is to open 2016 with the Blue Jays, Thole’s value lies mostly in his ability to keep the knuckler away from Russell Martin. With the money due to Martin over the next four years, having him work with the rest of the rotation and remain healthy should continue to be a top priority.
Spending the majority of his 2015 season with the AAA Buffalo Bisons, Josh Thole hit .228 over 45 games with just five extra base hits.