This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic yesterday that the club will almost certainly exercise the $6.5 million club option on J.J. Putz’s contract for next season.
“We’ll have time to make that decision, but he hasn’t done anything performance-wise to lead us to believe he wouldn’t be here,” Towers said.
Putz has proved to be an excellent bargain during his two-year, $10 million contract with Arizona, posting a 2.43 ERA and 112/21 K/BB ratio while going 73-for-80 in save chances. The 35-year-old right-hander got off to a bit of a slow start this season, but he hasn’t allowed a run in 24 appearances dating back to mid-June.
Putz struggled through elbow issues in 2008 and 2009, but he’s currently on pace to make over 50 appearances for the third straight season. He made at least 54 appearances in four straight seasons from 2004-2007.
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.