Orioles sign Nate McLouth to minor-league contract

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Released by the Pirates last week after passing through waivers unclaimed, Nate McLouth has signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles.

Pittsburgh is on the hook for his entire $1.75 million salary, so Baltimore is merely adding some Triple-A outfield depth and will hope McLouth can show some signs of life for the first time since 2009.

He’s still just 30 years old, but McLouth has hit .203 with a .624 OPS in 200 games since the beginning of 2010 and looked completely lost as a part-timer for the Pirates this season.

In addition to McLouth the Triple-A Norfolk lineup also now includes Miguel Tejada, Lew Ford, Bill Hall, and a rehabbing Brian Roberts, so they’d definitely have to be considered International League favorites for 2006.

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.