D’Backs acquire third baseman Chris Johnson from Astros

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From MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart comes word that the Astros have acquired offensive prospects Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss from the Diamondbacks for third baseman Chris Johnson.

At first glance, it’s another crafty deal for Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. Johnson had a nice showing in his first real chunk of major league playing time back in 2010, but the 27-year-old owns a .314 career on-base percentage and he doesn’t play great defense.

Borchering, meanwhile, has slugged 61 home runs in his first 394 major league games. The 21-year-old third baseman and corner outfielder was the 16th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. Krauss, a second-round pick in that ’09 draft, has a .924 OPS and 15 homers in 434 plate appearances this year in Double-A. He has a slugger’s profile.

Johnson will take over as Arizona’s primary third baseman. Ryan Roberts was recently traded to the Rays.

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.