We all know R.A. Dickey feels like knuckling under the pressure when Josh Thole isn't behind the plate. As a result, the veteran backstop has spent a significant amount of time on the Jays' 40-man roster over the previous three seasons.
During that time, he's offered below average offensive contributions with a triple-slash line of .212/.283/.258, good for a .541 OPS. And his work behind the plate while catching Dickey certainly didn't show up in 2015. The veteran knuckleballer had an OPS-against of .730 (4.60 ERA) with Thole and .693 (3.44) with Martin.
Perhaps Jays fans have hope this season? Think again. Thole has started each one of Dickey's starts.
The most promising catcher in camp was youngster A.J. Jimenez (course, when he injures one of your pitchers, it seems like he is reneging on that promise)-- but he's out of minor league options. That means he will have to be offered to all other 29 teams if Toronto tries to send him to the minors.
The former ninth round draft pick was more highly regarded than his draft slot but an elbow injury (and whispers of potential Tommy John surgery) dropped him about six or seven rounds in 2008. He eventually did succumb to the injury (and a couple others) and missed good chunks of the 2012, '13 and '15 seasons.
Even so, he has a decent (for a catcher) career triple-slash line of .272/.314/.381 and has had a strong defensive reputation since his amateur days in Puerto Rico. But he was never given a fair shot this spring. He didn't catch even one pitch from Dickey in a game despite showing life with his bat (.467/.556/.667 with more walks than strikeouts).
Toronto's front office has spent a lot of time bemoaning the lack of depth in the system but losing a 25-year-old catcher -- with potential -- to waivers stings a lot more than waving good bye to someone who hasn't hit, hasn't really caught that well, is older and is more expensive (by more than $1 million). Jimenez also comes with six years of control while Thole has just two more. For a club that preaches cost control measures, this just doesn't add up.
Oh well, let's all enjoy watching Jimenez catch the hurlers in Houston... or Milwaukee... or St. Louis... or Arizona... or San Francisco... or Seattle... or maybe Texas...
Mind you, after today's noggin' knockin' of Drew Hutchison, maybe he will pass through waivers...