Mets, Bobby Parnell agree at $1.7 million

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The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arbitration Thursday by agreeing to a one-year, $1.7 million contract.

The 28-year-old Parnell was eligible for arbitration for the first time after just missing out on Super-Two eligibility last year. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2015 campaign.

Parnell finished last season with a 5-4 record, five saves and a 2.49 ERA in 68 2/3 innings. He struck out 61, walked 20 and allowed four homers.

The plan is for Parnell to open this year as a setup man, with Frank Francisco getting his closing job back despite a 5.53 ERA in 42 1/3 innings last season. Still, Parnell is at least as likely as Francisco to lead the Mets in saves.

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.