The New York Yankees have been searching for catching depth all offseason. Josh Thole is the next addition to the depth chart.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the New York Yankees have agreed to a minor-league deal with former New York Mets‘ catcher Josh Thole.
#Yankees signed former #Mets catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal. He would get $600,000 if he makes it to the majors. Joins Chris Iannetta and Erik Kratz on minor league pacts behind Sanchez/Higashioka. Thole hasn’t played in majors since 2016.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 28, 2020
Thole is the third catcher the Yankees have signed on a minor league deal this offseason. He joins former Colorado Rockie Chris Iannetta and former Yankee and Milwaukee Brewer Erik Kratz.
Thole is best known for his time with the Mets. During the early stages of his career, Thole looked like a future starting catcher. His defense was always his calling card, but he hit well at first.
In his first three seasons, 2009-2011, Thole hit .276/.350/.356. The power wasn’t there but that was forgivable thanks to his defense. The bat went away in 2012 and never came back.
He was still useful as R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher. That role became incredibly valuable when Dickey won the NL Cy Young award in 2012. It’s hard to find a catcher who catches the knuckleball as well as Thole did.
That’s why Thole was traded along with Dickey to the Blue Jays in the offseason before the 2013 season. He was a backup catcher for his four years in Toronto and hasn’t played in the majors since his time in Toronto came to an end in 2016.
Thole is still just 32-years-old. There’s still hope that he could be a backup solution for at least a few years. However, the bat isn’t good even at AAA and his defense has gotten worse.
More than likely, Thole will be in AAA for the Yankees all year. He’ll likely be the third catcher on the roster behind the two who lose the backup battle. If Thole is seeing time in the majors for the New York Yankees in 2020, the catching situation would be in dire straits.