Juan Pierre has been a below average hitter with some speed (though not stellar base running skills) and meh-to-poor defense for several years now. Seemingly everywhere he’s gone, the fan base soon starts to cry out for his ouster. Yet Pierre continues to find work and continues to get playing time at a rate which seems to outpace his performance.
Why? Mostly because the guy works his butt off, and teams really like having guys like that around:
The daily routine begins around 3:30 p.m.
Juan Pierre plays a short game of catch with Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin before stepping into the batting cage for a prolonged session of bunting practice. Mackanin is his pitcher … The 34-year outfielder lays down bunt after bunt after bunt while his teammates are still inside the air-conditioned clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.
Ruben Amaro waxes approvingly of him too. We’ve heard things similar to this everywhere he’s played. I wonder what the shelf life of a player with his exact performance but without the work ethic would be in the bigs.
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.