Already this offseason reports have linked David Freese to the Yankees and the Marlins, and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Angels have “discussed a trade” for the Cardinals third baseman.
St. Louis shopping Freese makes sense, because he’s coming off a down year and about to get expensive via arbitration. Plus, the Cardinals have top prospect Kolten Wong just about ready to step in at second base, which would allow them to replace Freese by shifting Matt Carpenter to third base.
Freese hit .262 with nine homers and a .721 OPS in 138 games this year, but made the All-Star team in 2012 while hitting .293 with 20 homers and an .839 OPS before going nuts in the playoffs.
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.