Quote of the day: "It's my decision"

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Thumbnail image for fielder_prince_090928.jpgAdam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the Brewers are already engaging agent Scott Boras in some preliminary discussions about a long-term contract for Prince Fielder.

Fielder, who turns 26 in May, is under team control for two more seasons. As McCalvy aptly points out, there’s no real precedent for Boras to advise one of his clients against testing the open market, but Fielder doesn’t dismiss the notion at all.

“In the end, it’s my decision. But as my agent, he’s
going to make sure that I have the most information possible about
what’s going to benefit me and my family. That’s what it’s about first.
My family has to be happy, and then I go from there. There’s no urgency right now as far as that.”

These sound like some pretty canned remarks, consistent with a player contemplating free agency, but consider that fellow first basemen Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez could also hit the open market after the 2011 season. If all four stay healthy, they’ll attract large contracts from some of the game’s biggest spenders. One or two of them could agree to an extension before hitting free agency, but if they don’t, position scarcity could have a lot to say about where each of them end up. As of now, it figures to be quite a unique offseason.
 

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.