According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the New York Mets expect 26-year-old catcher Josh Thole to be arbitration eligible this off-season. Which, according to Rubin, means “he may make $700,000 or $800,000 — or more — rather than a figure solely decided by the team close to the minimum.” Rubin goes on to state the following in his post to ESPN New York:
”He just wasn’t exercising the same patient approach at the plate he’d been known for earlier in the season and in past seasons. His walk rate plummeted and his strikeout rate soared. There was talk about him altering his approach and looking to hit for more power and his line drive rate does seem to reflect his hitting the ball more squarely, but it ultimately didn’t do him much good. Apart from his six doubles in July, even his limited power disappeared. He had an extra-base hit in 5.4% of his pre-concussion plate appearances and only 4.2% of them afterwards.”
Donato is right, after his concussion, Thole was not the same. Not to mention, he took very little strides — if any at all — in improving defensively. I’ve long stated if you are going to start a soft hitting catcher he better be above average defensively. Which clearly, he is not. That said, he is just 26-years-old. And for a team on a limited budget his price tag — even through arbitration — is very affordable. If the club can improve and get offensive production from their outfield, you will hear no complaints from me about bringing Thole back next season. So long as it is in a platoon situation or as RA Dickey’s personal catcher; who he seems to have a very nice rapport with.
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