Update:This is the article, from El Universo in Venezuela, to confirm Onley's report.
The President of the Leones de Caracas, Luis Avila, is quoted saying," It's a shame, but we came to a mutual decision, because he (Thole) wants to rest in December, and although he could have stayed with us until the 4th of January, he would have to leave to the United States the 8th to then return on the 11th. It was a very complicated itinerary where it was going to wear a lot on him and that is not our intention. What's good in all of this, is that he is willing to come back next season."
Thanks to metsblog.com for the link.
Original Post:Buster Olney has reported, in his daily blog, that Josh Thole has decided not to return to play for the Leones de Caracas of the Venezuelan league. Onley stated that Thole wants to start prepping himself to fight for a job with the Mets in the spring. In 44 games for Caracas, Thole hit .380 (59-155), 16 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homeruns, and 28 RBI's, while walking 25 times and striking out only 13 times. He ended his season ranking 2nd in BA (.380), 1st in OBP (.470), 4th in SLG. (.568), and 1st in OPS. (1.038).
Its obvious that Thole was not challenged offensively in Venezuela. What Thole needs to work on is defense, defense, defense, and I might add defense. His bat has sustained him as a prospect, and now his defensive skills need to catch up (no pun intended). It looks like the Mets will sign a veteran C, so that would likely mean Thole will start 2010 in AAA to fine tune his defensive skills, but Thole can make decisions harder by having an outstanding spring training.