The Blue Jays have re-signed catcher Josh Thole to a Major League contract and optioned second baseman Devon Travis to the team’s rookie-level affiliate in the Appalachian League, the team announced to reporters (including Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith). While some Jays fans may recoil at the notion of Travis being optioned, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets that Toronto’s Bluefield affiliate will see its season come to an end tonight, thus making Travis eligible to return to the big leagues tomorrow. Presumably, Thole’s re-signing was completed last night in order to make him postseason eligible if necessary, thus necessitating the brief demotion for Travis.
Thole, 29, was placed on irrevocable waivers and subsequently released earlier this week following Toronto’s weekend acquisition of Dioner Navarro. Even at the time of his release, however, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reported that it was likely that Thole would be quickly re-signed. While he’s managed just a .158/.246/.211 slash in 147 trips to the plate this year, Thole is of course eminently familiar with catching R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball and could continue to do so for the final month of the 2016 campaign. Because he’s once again on the 40-man roster, Thole would be eligible to be retained for the 2017 season via the arbitration process — he projects to finish the year about a week shy of six full seasons of big league service — though he’s a definite non-tender candidate even with a minimal salary.