Johan Santana is officially a free agent, as the Mets declined his $25 million option for 2014 and paid him a $5.5 million buyout.
It was obviously a no-brainer move, as Santana missed the entire season following shoulder surgery and is no sure thing to be ready for the beginning of next year. He’ll likely be looking for an incentive-laden one-year contract on the open market and publicly at least the Mets have indicated they’re interested in re-signing him for a much, much lower price.
Santana last saw action in an MLB game on August 17, 2012. He ended up throwing 717 innings with a 3.18 ERA for the Mets while making $137.5 million.
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.