Mets believe Thole will be arbitration eligible

Photo taken by Michael Baron

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:

“The official calculation from Major League Baseball has not yet been shared with clubs, but the Mets do expect the collective bargaining agreement that went into effect for the 2012 season to result in Josh Thole being eligible for arbitration by a matter of days.”
In what was a make or break season for the 26-year-old backstop, he hit .234 with one home runs and 24 RBI over 321 at-bats for the Mets in 2012. However, his finally stat line doesn’t tell the entire story of his 2012 campaign. Prior to suffering a concussion on May 7th — during a collision at the plate with Ty Wigginton — Thole was actually preforming well (offensively).

Prior to May 7th concussion

As Michael Donato stated in a post to SB Nation, “When he returned he wasn’t the same, and by the time the season started winding down he was making outs at a Jason Bay rate.”  As Donato points out:

AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

 ”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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