The Yankees agreed to a minor league deal with veteran catcher Josh Thole this week, as first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). The former Mets and Blue Jays backstop would make $600K upon cracking the big league roster. He’s the third experienced catcher the Yankees have brought in on a minor league deal this winter, joining fellow veterans Chris Iannetta and Erik Kratz in that regard. Kyle Higashioka, though, remains the favorite to back up Gary Sanchez in 2020.
Now 33 years old, Thole carved out a niche as something of a personal catcher for former NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball both in New York and in Toronto. He’s never been a huge threat at the plate, however, hitting .242/.313/.306 through 1499 Major League plate appearances and .259/.349/.380 through 186 Triple-A games.
Thole split the 2019 season between the Angels and Dodgers organizations, where he logged a combined .243/.352/.327 slash in 267 minor league plate appearances. He briefly appeared in the Tigers’ system in 2018 and didn’t play at all in 2017. Thole’s last big league action came in 2016 when he appeared in 50 games with the Blue Jays.