UPDATE: Indians, Grady Sizemore closing in on new deal

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UPDATE II: According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, a deal between the Indians and Sizemore will get done.

UPDATE: Sizemore’s agent, Joe Urbon, confirmed to Rosenthal that serious discussions with the Indians are taking place. The 29-year-old could make up his mind as soon as this weekend.

7:42 PM: Sources tell FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal than the Indians and Grady Sizemore are involved in serious talks and will likely agree to a one-year deal.

It’s something of a surprise, given that the team declined Sizemore’s $9 million option for 2012 earlier this month.

The 29-year-old Sizemore, formerly one of the AL’s very best players, has missed much of the last two seasons due to knee problems. He hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 homers in 71 games last season.

Sizemore was only interested in a one-year deal this winter, as he hopes to rebuild his value and land a much bigger contract next winter. That’s what adds to the mixed feelings here; if Sizemore does return to old form, the Indians will have a difficult time re-signing him to the $15 million-$20 million per year contract he’s going to deserve.

Given what Sizemore is right now, the Indians might well be better off replacing him with a right-handed-hitting corner outfielder. Left fielder Michael Brantley would be just fine in center, and Sizemore’s return makes the Indians way lefty heavy. Brantley, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, DH Travis Hafner, second baseman Jason Kipnis and third-base candidates Jack Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall are all left-handed hitters.

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.