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.
Thole has cleared waivers and became a free agent on Tuesday, VICE Sports' John Lott reports.
He was recently designated for assignment, but apparently wanted to seek a change of scenery. As Lott notes, the line of teams waiting to sign Thole shouldn't be long, as he slashed .158/.246/.211 in 132 plate appearances this year with the Blue Jays.
Thole went 0-for-3 with an RBI, his seventh of the season, in Tuesday's win over the Angels.
Making his routine spot start behind the plate with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on the hill, Thole's third straight hitless effort lowered his batting average to a measly .151 on the season. The left-hand hitting catcher's splits have been equally as disappointing, as Thole's hitting .156 in 32 at-bats against southpaws, and .149 in 74 at-bats versus righties.