The Wilson Defensive Awards were announced last night

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We mentioned this last week, but last night the inaugural Wilson Defensive Awards were announced on MLB Network. As we said previously: sponsored awards like this are kind of “whatever,” but in a world where people still take the Gold Glove awards seriously, I’m cool with any viable competitor.

As you’ll recall, there were awards for the best overall defensive team, the best defender in each league, as well as the best defensive player per team.

The results, with the up-front head-smacking due to the fact that the best overall defensive team had its season end because they totally stunk up the NL Wild Card game with poor defense:

BEST OVERALL TEAM – Atlanta Braves
BEST OVERALL IN NL – Michael Bourn
BEST OVERALL IN AL – Mike Trout

TEAM BY TEAM:

AL EAST
Yankees – Robinson Cano
Orioles – JJ Hardy
Red Sox – Dustin Pedroia
Blue Jays – Brett Lawrie
Rays – Jose Molina

AL CENTRAL
Twins – Denard Span
Tigers – Austin Jackson
Royals – Lorenzo Cain
White Sox – Alexei Ramirez
Indians – Jason Kipnis

AL WEST
Mariners – Brendan Ryan
Rangers – Adrian Beltre
Angels – Mike Trout
A’s – Josh Reddick

NL EAST
Phillies – Carlos Ruiz
Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton
Nationals – Adam LaRoche
Braves – Michael Bourn
Mets – David Wright

NL CENTRAL
Cardinals – Yadier Molina
Pirates – Andrew McCutchen
Cubs – Darwin Barney
Astros – Justin Maxwell
Brewers – Carlos Gomez
Reds – Brandon Phillips

NL WEST
Giants – Brandon Crawford
Dodgers – Matt Kemp
Diamondbacks – Aaron Hill
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Padres – Chase Headley

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.