According to Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball, the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal. Mathis spent last season as the backup for J.T. Realmuto with the Miami Marlins.
Mathis, 33, has had a lengthy MLB career, after being taken 33rd overall in the 1st round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Anaheim Angels. Mathis spent seven seasons with the Angels before spending one season with the Toronto Blue Jays then being included in a trade to Miami that involved Jose Reyes, and is regarded as one of the most notable trades of the decade. Mathis went on to spend the next four seasons with the Marlins.
Mathis has never been particularly potent on offense, but had a minor revival this season in Miami, hitting .238 with two home runs and 15 runs batted in during 41 games played. Mathis is a career .197 hitter over his 12 MLB seasons, with 45 home runs and 234 runs batted in. Mathis will likely serve as a veteran presence, known more defense and managing the game than his ability to swing the bat.
Mathis will now be involved in a wide open battle for a catching role in Arizona, joining the recently acquired Tuffy Gosewich, veteran Chris Herrmann and Oscar Hernandez in AAA. The two year deal will likely secure Mathis a role with the club in some capacity. The Diamondbacks have focused on improving a depleted pitching staff, and have sacrificed some of their offensive ability to do so. The Diamondbacks also non-tendered incumbent starting catcher Wellington Castillo in an effort to save money.null