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Josh Thole sent down to Triple-A

Mar 25, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Toronto Blue Jays Getty Images

I normally wouldn’t do a post about a guy losing a backup catcher competition, but this one is notable because he was supposed to be an extra special backup catcher: the Blue Jays have sent Josh Thole down to the minors.

Many thought the whole point of the Mets including Thole in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto was so that he could be Dickey’s personal catcher. You know, because knuckleballers are so erratic and need a special guy around.  Maybe the height of this was when The Red Sox took such efforts to get Doug Mirabelli back from the Padres in 2006, after Tim Wakefield had to go without his special services behind the plate for almost a whole month. Mirabelli had a friggin’ police escort to Fenway Park he was so important.

But there are apparently limits to what a team will do for a knuckleballer’s special friend, and carrying Thole’s bat is the limit. Thole hit just .234/.294/.290 last year and was doing even worse this spring for his new club. It appears as though Henry Blanco who, conservatively, has been catching 142 years, will get the backup job.

  1. proudlycanadian - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Blanco and Dickey also have a history together. Months before the Jays traded for Dickey and Thole, Dickey told a Toronto broadcast crew that Blanco caught his knuckle ball the best. Thole will be well paid on a 2 year contract while in Triple A. The Jays gave him the security of that contract fully knowing that he would probably start 2013 in Triple A.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      While in Triple A, Thole will make more than twice the salary being paid to Blanco. The Jays still have plans to use Thole in the future.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Gibbons has indicated that he has changed his mind about Dickey having a personal catcher this year. Arencibia successfully caught Dickey twice in the WBC, so both he and Blanco will catch for him in the regular season. Thole’s 2 year contract is for a total of $2.5 million. There is also a team option for a third year at $1.75 million. He will be well compensated. I was only slightly off when I wrote that he will earn more than twice as much as Blanco.

      • jaysjunkie - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        Thanks for the informative running commentary, proudly. lol

        I always appreciate the extra info you provide on all matters Jays that saves me from having to look around further online to “fill in the blanks” on some of the HBT stories.

  2. Alex K - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    I think you were a little light on the amount of years that Hank White has been catching. I think it’s actually more like 183.

    That said, I am a proud member of the Hank White Fan Club.

    • Francisco (FC) - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      Imagine Henry Blanco catching Jamie Moyer…

      • professormaddog31 - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        AARP battery. I love it.

      • Old Gator - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Yeah, probably the team held onto them to get the AARP discounts of air fares, hotels and health insurance.

  3. dondada10 - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Josh Thole is not a major league catcher offensively or defensively. I’ve never seen a catcher more scared of contact than Thole.

    Nickeas was the better of the two catchers the Mets sent.

  4. tmohr - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Between putting up a 132 OPS+ two seasons ago (albeit in just over 100 PAs) and throwing out 48% of baserunners since 2010, Blanco may end up catching until he’s 55.

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