The Astros and left-hander Joe Thatcher are in agreement on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). Thatcher, a client of Platinum Sports, will earn $1MM on the Major League side of the deal and can earn an additional $1.3MM worth of incentives. His contract also contains an opt-out five days before Opening Day.
The 33-year-old Thatcher split last season between the Diamondbacks and Angels, working to a combined 3.86 ERA with 27 strikeouts against four walks in 30 1/3 innings. The Angels acquired Thatcher (and center fielder Tony Campana) from the D-Backs in exchange for minor league outfielder Zach Borenstein and minor league righty Joey Krehbiel in early July. However, after just seven appearances with the Halos, Thatcher badly sprained his ankle and missed nearly six weeks of action. In total, he allowed six runs in 6 1/3 innings with the Angels, working primarily as a lefty specialist. (Only two of his Angels outings lasted a full inning.)
The .289/.317/.447 batting line that Thatcher surrendered to opposing lefties in 2014 wasn’t exactly encouraging, but it came in a small sample of 83 plate appearances. His overall body of work against lefty bats is far more useful, as he’s held same-handed hitters to a .230/.289/.351 triple-slash in 497 plate appearances.