Thole was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays in 2016 after struggling at the plate to the tune of a .169 batting average over 50 games played. He has never been much of an offensive threat and will likely provide organization catching depth for the Diamondbacks in 2017.
Thole cleared outright waivers and elected free agency, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports.
He has never been good at the plate, but Thole was so bad in 2016 (.474 OPS) that he eventually lost his job as R.A. Dickey's personal catcher late in the year. His familiarity with the knuckleballer may help Thole continue sticking around the majors though, as the Braves have a need behind the dish.
With R.A. Dickey seemingly moved to the bullpen for good, Thole -- Dickey's personal catcher -- is no longer needed to make spot starts behind the plate. His role on the team has been reduced to its lowest point of the season, and considering he lacks fantasy relevance even when seeing regular time, it's hard to imagine a fantasy league where Thole's worth owning.
Thole's 2016 campaign has been one to forget. The 29-year-old came out of spring training as R.A. Dickey's personal catcher and in line to receive a solid amount of spot work spelling veteran backstop Russell Martin. Now sporting a career-low .155 average through 116 at-bats, Thole only gets on the field when Dickey is on the hill, and the catcher immediately comes off -- usually via a double-switch -- as soon as the knuckleballer is finished. Now with Dioner Navarro in the mix (and Dickey's next start being skipped), Thole is unlikely to see much, if any, playing time in the near future.
Thole was DFA'd less than a week ago after the team acquired Dioner Navarro, but he'll now rejoin the Jays after clearing waivers Tuesday. He is knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's preferred catcher and will likely only be deployed down the stretch when Dickey is on the mound.