Hal Steinbrenner to Joe Giradi: "I can't imagine this team without you"

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MLB.com’s Barry Bloom sat down with Hal Steinbrenner recently. During their conversation Little Stein, after first reiterating that he doesn’t do contract extensions until the current contracts actually end, strongly suggested that Joe Girardi isn’t going anywhere:

“Quite frankly, I had a talk with him,” Steinbrenner said. “I said,
‘Joe, this is something you can’t take personally. It’s something I’ve
never done. It’s something I don’t believe in, and I don’t believe in
making exceptions. But I can’t imagine this team without you. So know
that.’ And he was fine with it. It is what is.

“I hope everybody is reasonable and we can work it out easily. But
there’s no doubt I want them here.”

The “them” refers to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, who also are winding down their current contracts. But no one really doubted that they’d remain in the fold. There’s always a chance, however, that Girardi wouldn’t be back, either because the team disappoints or because he asks for too much money or what have you. These quotes, however, make it sound like Girardi is going to be around regardless.

Which makes sense. If this Yankees team doesn’t have a great year, it’s not very likely that it will be due to something Girardi does or doesn’t do. It will be because of injuries or one of the older players finally feeling his age or something like that.

Girardi is a good company man. He deals with the scrutiny from the press pretty well.  The players seem to like him. He hasn’t mishandled the assets he’s been given to manage. Those are the most important traits for a New York Yankees manager. He deserves a new deal in my mind.

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.