Josh Thole

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Joshua Michael Thole

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Biographical Information[edit]

Josh Thole was drafted by the New York Mets in the 13th round of the 2005 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Quincy Boyd and began his pro career that summer.

Thole became the Mets' starting catcher in 2011, playing 114 games, during which he hit .268 with 17 doubles, 3 homers and 40 RBI.

He was involved in an embarrassing baserunning gaffe on April 13, 2012, with the Mets facing the Philadelphia Phillies. He reached second base on a sacrifice bunt by R.A. Dickey in the 2nd inning, then unexpectedly began returning to first base at a leisurely pace. He realized his mistake halfway there, began to sprint to the bag, but was tagged out sliding headfirst, the unlikely play going from pitcher Cliff Lee to SS Jimmy Rollins to 1B Jim Thome. "I don't know what I was thinking," he later explained. He was again the Mets' most-used catcher that season, playing 104 games with a .234 average, 1 homer and 21 RBI. After the season, on December 17th, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Dickey and his back-up behind the plate, Mike Nickeas, in return for Cs John Buck and Travis d'Arnaud and Ps Wuilmer Becerra and Noah Syndergaard.

With Toronto, when active, he served as the personal catcher for knuckleballer Dickey. In 2013, 2014 and 2016, he played between 45 and 57 games and had between 118 and 133 at-bats, although his hitting left something to be desired: in two of those years, he hit well below the Mendoza Line, although in 2014, his average of .248 was at least passable. Still, he was not in the line-up for his bat, and the Jays were willing to put up with an OPS+ well below 100 - in fact below 50 in three of his four years with the team - in exchange for his defensive ability with Dickey on the mound combined to occasional work as a back-up catcher. In 2015, his role was lightly different, as Russell Martin joined the team as a big money free agent, while the Blue Jays retained Dioner Navarro as his primary back-up. Josh played only 18 games in the majors that year, after it became clear that for all their other qualities, neither Martin nor Navarro were comfortable working with Dickey on the mound. The Jays made the postseason in both 2015 and 2016, but Thole did not see any action in those game, even though Dickey made a couple of starts in the 2015 playoffs (he was left off the postseason roster in 2016).

After Dickey's departure following the 2016 season, Thole became less important to the Jays, as they focused on acquiring a back-up catcher with a more complete profile. On the same day the Jays signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia on January 25, 2017, Thole signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, although given the absence of a knuckleballer on the team's pitching staff, he faced stiff competition to make the major league team.

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