Blue Jays bring back Josh Thole on one-year deal
The Toronto Blue Jays have brought back catcher Josh Thole on a one-year contract worth $800,000. Thole was recently the only member of the Blue Jays 10 potential arbitration cases to be non-tendered, but this deal keeps him in the organization for $1 million less that what his projected salary was.
Toronto made a similar move one year ago with Justin Smoak, non-tendering him to avoid a pricy arbitration number and agreeing on a lesser salary. This deal likely returns Thole to a leading role in the competition for the backup catching job behind Russell Martin. As it stands, the only catchers close by would be Humberto Quintero and A.J. Jimenez.
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A great deal has been made about the beating that Russell Martin took from R.A. Dickey‘s knuckleball, and how that transpired into decreased offensive results surrounding his starts. It remains unclear whether the Blue Jays are going to put Dickey back on Martin’s plate in 2016, but at the bare minimum, having Thole in the system and ready to roll is a necessity. Still, barring an addition, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him crack the 25-man.
Along with the bullpen, starting rotation and middle infield, the catching position is one where Toronto could still very much afford to add some depth. Hopes remain high for top prospect Max Pentecost as he continues to battle untimely injuries, but the system remains thin on warm bodies at the upper levels.
We can also circle this as the first signing by the Ross Atkins regime, can’t we? I like him already.