Jeff Mathis Rumors

Players Reflect On Arbitration Hearings: Jeff Mathis

In a day and age where sabermetric stats like wins above replacement have become more and more popular, it can be easy to overlook basic numbers.

In the arbitration case involving catcher Jeff Mathis and Angels in 2010, a difference of $600K was decided in large part because of one simple stat: games started.

Mathis and the Angels couldn’t agree to a contract for 2010, leaving them no choice but to go to arbitration. The club filed at $700K while Mathis countered with a request of $1.3MM.

“If there was any chance to work it out for us to get what we thought was fair, we would have done it,” Mathis said. “We wouldn’t have chanced to go in there and go through all of that.

“It’s not something that any player wants to go through or deal with. It’s a rough process, especially if you go all the way to the hearing like I did. There’s stuff that goes on in that room that I wouldn’t suggest anybody experience or be a part of. … You don’t want to be a part of anything like that.”

The case turned out to be one of the more fascinating arbitration hearings in recent memory. The Angels centered their case around Mathis’ poor offensive numbers. They pointed out that his career .200 batting average was among the worst in arbitration case history. His on-base percentage, slugging percentage and strikeout totals weren’t much better.

“They were really centered in on what the offensive numbers were,” said Mathis’ longtime agent BB Abbott. “That was their entire case, what Jeff had done offensively for the team.”

Because the numbers were poor, it was an easy and obvious area for the Angels to focus on. It seemed like the team had a good argument. And Abbott acknowledged this, saying in his case in chief that Mathis wasn’t someone who would usually impact a game with his bat.

But Abbott and his group found an area where Mathis did impact the game: defense became the focus of their case. A former catcher himself, Angels manager Mike Scioscia put heavy emphasis on the defensive side of catching. Mathis certainly fit that bill.

Mike Napoli received much of the attention in Anaheim because his offensive numbers were much better. He was seen by most as the starting catcher and Mathis was looked at as the backup. And that’s what the Angels argued.

The only problem with this analysis was that Mathis had started more games behind the plate the previous two seasons than Napoli. Mathis started 168 games at catcher during the 2008 and 2009 seasons while Napoli started 155.

“Because of Mike Scioscia and how he handles his catching tandem, they really had a couple of different starting catchers,” Abbott said. “That’s just a very rare thing. Because of Mike Napoli’s numbers and the offensive output that he had, it would be easy to slap that label as a starting catcher on him. Usually in those situations you have a starting catcher and a backup catcher.

“In Jeff’s case, the whole central theme of our case was that they had two starting catchers. They were co-starting catchers. Jeff had caught just as many games, in fact he caught more games than Mike over a two-year period. To put this guy into the salary structure of a backup catcher, in our eyes wasn’t appropriate. In the team’s eyes it was.”

To help prove their case, Abbott and his group used 12 quotes from Scioscia and other front office personnel to show how much weight the club put on a catcher and his defense. They also used a three-year comparable prior to their first time eligible arbitration years to show that Mathis had more starts behind the plate during that time.

The three arbitrators reviewing the case were Elliott Shiftman, Steven Wolf and Margaret Brogan. They took 24 hours to deliberate before deciding in Mathis’ favor, awarding him his number of $1.3MM.

“There were absolutely no hard feelings on either side,” Abbott said. “Jeff knew what was going to be presented in front of him, he was very well prepared. He knew exactly what the team's case was going to be and, like I said, the only thing we made and ultimately what won it for us was that, listen, we understand that he’s going to be at the bottom of the starting catcher salary structure but he should be in that salary structure and not at the bottom of the backup catchers' salary structure. Ultimately the arbitration panel agreed.”

The case was a big one for Mathis because of the future implications it could have had on his earnings. A player’s salary in his first year of arbitration can set the pay scale for the years to come.

“The arbitration panel is going to pick one or the other, so Jeff would have been coming off of either $700K or $1.3MM the next year,” Abbott said. “A win or loss in arbitration can continue to follow you. He was coming off $1.3MM and Jeff went to $1.7MM. If he comes off $700K, he’s going into the low $1MM figures.

“It’s either the gift that keeps on giving or the gift that keeps on taking away so that’s why going to arbitration your first year is a very tough decision and a very tough proposition because the salaries that come in subsequent years could be based on what that award is or that first year salary is and that’s something you have to consider when you are considering whether or not to take a case to a hearing.”

Mathis, now with the Marlins, broke his collarbone in the spring opener Saturday after a foul tip from Matt Holliday fractured his right clavicle. He could be out for as much as six weeks.

But reflecting back on the arbitration process and hearing, Mathis said, “When you first sign up to play this game you don’t ever think of that part of professional baseball and the more years you get into it and the stuff that starts happening with arbitration and free agency and all that. You really get to understand the business side of it.

“It stinks. It’s not something that you want to do or hear or hear from anybody else. It’s part of the game and baseball and the business side and you just deal with.”

It was probably much easier for Mathis to deal with it since he won.

Kyle Lohse reflected on past arbitration hearings in the debut instalment of this series.


Quick Hits: Contreras, Indians, Marlins, Yankees

After Brian Sabean traded Matt Williams to the Indians for a package that included eventual San Francisco cornerstone Jeff Kent, the public reaction against the newly minted Giants general manager was so strong that he felt compelled to declare: “I’m not an idiot.”  Sixteen years later, with two World Championships under Sabean’s belt, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that he “has proven that, emphatically.”  Sabean still abides by the credo he adopted while working for George Steinbrenner: “keep your head down and do your job.” Here are some notes on teams hoping to dethrone Mr. Sabean’s Giants in 2013:

  • Having agreed yesterday to a minor league contract with the Pirates, 41-year-old reliever Jose Contreras reported to camp quickly with plans to take it slow, says Tom Singer of MLB.com.  Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and having just returned from his first visit to his native Cuba since defecting over a decade ago, Contreras said that the Pirates instructed him “to take my time and recover at my own rate.”  Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, for whom the signing was a “low-risk” gambit to bolster the club’s bullpen, stated that Contreras would “rehab throughout Spring Training” and that the team would “be patient with him and get him back as quickly as his body allows.”
  • The Indians have set up a three-way competition for the last spot in the team’s starting rotation, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.  Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco, both of whom are attempting comebacks, will compete with recently-acquired prospect Trevor Bauer.  All three pitchers appeared in today’s Cactus League game.  While MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk maintains that Kyle Lohse could fit nicely in the Tribe's rotation, the team seems likely to utilize one of the options it already has on hand.
  • With Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis likely out for more than six weeks with a fractured collarbone, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro discusses the club’s search for a new second backstop behind presumed starter Rob Brantly.  In addition to considering internal options like Kyle Skipworth, “the club is combing through other rosters, exploring possible trade options and trying to figure out which teams have a surplus.” 
  • Other than Sabean, only one current GM has overseen multiple championship clubs: the Yankees’ Brian Cashman.  Cashman revealed today that, contrary to his previously stated belief, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli is in fact out of options, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.  MLBTR has labeled Cervelli as out of options from the start; check out our full list of players here.  Of the three primary catchers competing to break camp with the Yankees, then, only Austin Romine can still be optioned.  (Chris Stewart, like Cervelli, has had his options exhausted.)  When asked to comment on the catching situation, Cashman wryly reported: “We’ve got two guys out of options and one guy with an option.  I think the two guys are winning.”
  • Of more immediate concern to Cashman and the Yankees, of course, is the injury to outfielder Curtis Granderson.  In addition to the analysis of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, other commentators have begun to weigh in.  Bill Madden of The New York Daily News explores the options for replacing Granderson and worries that the club could face a power shortage.  MLB.com’s Richard Justice opines that Cashman should stick to his winning strategy of “being smart and efficient” and “not overreacting to every crisis.”  For FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, on the other hand, the injury “exposed the Yankees’ flawed roster construction” and leaves the club’s 2013 postseason prospects in doubt.

Morosi On Juan Pierre, Mike Redmond

Saturday marked the first full slate of Spring Training games with teams in action all over the states of Arizona and Florida. Teams will play a 35-game schedule this spring, longer than typical years, as a result of the World Baseball Classic taking place at the same time. FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi caught up with the Marlins as they begin the 2013 season with lowered expectations after unloading a major portion of the team's payroll during the offseason.

  • Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre says Michael Bourn did well for himself with the contract he signed with the Indians this offseason. Pierre points to power hitters aging more gracefully than players who rely on their speed to score runs. "Guys that run, you get to 31 and (teams) shy away from guys like that," Pierre said. "Bourn is 30. I was 28 when I signed my deal with the Dodgers, right in the prime. It’s a tough thing, because power never goes on you."
  • Marlins backup catcher Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone after being hit with a ball while behind the plate on Saturday which further weakens Miami at the position. A reporter suggested manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher, should assume Mathis' responsibilities while the veteran recovers. "I don’t know about that," Redmond said. "I don’t think so. I like the way my body feels right now, the way it is."


Blue Jays, Marlins Complete Blockbuster Trade

Commissioner Bud Selig has approved the blockbuster trade that the Blue Jays and Marlins agreed to last week.  The Blue Jays announced the 12-player trade, which sends Jose ReyesJosh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and cash considerations to Toronto for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino, Anthony Desclafani and Jake Marisnick.

The deal, which calls for the Marlins to send the Blue Jays $4MM, required the approval of the commissioner's office.  The Blue Jays are taking on tens of millions in future payroll obligations, while the Marlins are moving the contracts of Reyes and Buehrle less than one full year after signing them as free agents.

Ultimately the deal "represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs," Selig said in a statement approving the trade.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he didn't end up receiving from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production regressed in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a substantial amount of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto executives ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post.


Blue Jays To Acquire Johnson, Reyes, Buehrle From Marlins

The Blue Jays have reached agreement on a deal with the Marlins that will send right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck to Toronto for shortstop Yunel Escobar, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino, outfielder Jake Marisnick, catcher Jeff Mathis, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.  The deal, which will also call for the Marlins to send $4MM to the Blue Jays, is awaiting MLB approval.

The shocking trade effectively means that the Marlins are hitting the reset button on a team which had a payroll in the range of $100MM on Opening Day last season.  The Marlins brought out the checkbook last winter to draw fans to their brand new stadium, signing Reyes to a six-year, $106MM deal and Buehrle to a four-year, $58MM deal.  Neither player had a no-trade clause as per club policy.  Miami now has roughly $16MM in non-arbitration commitments heading into 2013.

Meanwhile, the blockbuster deal could make the Blue Jays a serious threat in the AL East.   Johnson, the first player first known to be involved in the deal, turned in a solid 2012 season after missing the bulk of 2011 with inflammation in his right shoulder.  The 28-year-old wasn't as quite as sharp as he was in 2009 and '10 but still posted a 3.81 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he obviously didn't receive from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production came back to earth in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a boatload of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto brass ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

The trade was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports with additional details coming from ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, and Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.


AL East Links: Ibanez, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox

Four years ago today, the Yankees traded a package headlined by Wilson Betemit to the White Sox for Nick Swisher. After helping New York to the 2009 World Series and three other playoff appearances, Swisher is now in line for a big multiyear contract as a free agent this winter. Here's the latest from the AL East…


Napoli, Mathis Talk Contracts, Hitting, Defense

Few observers would argue that Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis have similar strengths relative to their fellow MLB catchers. Anything but. One is a power hitting All-Star; the other is a defensive specialist with a history of below-average offensive performances. While categorizing the players themselves as opposites would be overly simplistic, they have taken divergent paths in one significant respect: their contracts.

Both Napoli and Mathis entered the 2012 season with one-year deals, five-plus years of service time, and free agency approaching quickly. Napoli has tabled extension talks for now and is still on track to hit free agency this offseason. Meanwhile, Mathis bypassed the open market last week for the security of a two-year, $3MM extension. Deciding to give up free agency with six weeks to go in the season was difficult for the Blue Jays catcher.

Mike Napoli - Rangers (PW)

“It was. There’s no doubt about that,” he told MLBTR this past weekend. “Ever since you come into professional ball that’s what you wait for really. You get to see what kind of teams want you for the first time ever. It was tough giving that up, but the Blue Jays made the decision worth my while and we got something done.”

Mathis said contract talks began a little more than a month ago and accelerated after the non-waiver trade deadline passed. For someone who has played exclusively on one-year deals, the security of a multiyear contract had considerable appeal.

“It’s big,” he said. “We’re in this game to stay, you want to stay around as long as you can and try to get that tenure in and try to be with a team that you think is going in the right direction and win some ballgames and that’s where this organization is at.”

While Mathis and his representatives at Jet Sports Management undertook the task of negotiating a contract in the midst of the season, Napoli said he hasn’t had recent talks with the Rangers. He’s now on the disabled list with a quad injury and doesn’t appear to be thinking about free agency.

“I really can’t control any of that right now,” Napoli told MLBTR. “I want to be [in Texas]. I want to stay here, but I’m just worried about getting back on the field and trying to help our team get in position to make a run at it.”

Multi-Dimensional

Napoli and Mathis have existed and co-existed on opposite ends of the offensive spectrum as Major Leaguers. A total of 37 catchers have appeared in at least 400 games since 2006, the first year Napoli and Mathis got considerable playing time at the MLB level. Napoli leads the group of 37 with a .502 slugging percentage and he ranks second in OPS, trailing only Joe Mauer. Conversely, Mathis ranks last in on-base percentage (.256), slugging percentage (.314) and OPS (.570) since 2006.

Yet the Blue Jays saw enough from Mathis on defense and at the plate to extend him through 2014. Napoli said he was pleased to see his longtime teammate obtain a multiyear contract. And he suggested Mathis’ offense — a career-best .664 OPS with seven home runs — might be sustainable.

“I played with him in the minors so I’ve seen him hit,” Napoli said, alluding to Mathis' minor league successes at the plate. “To see him come back and be able to do it again is good. He looks comfortable. He’s playing and having fun.”

If Mathis’ bat has been a pleasant surprise, Napoli’s is a known commodity. Mike Piazza and Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Roy Campanella are the only catchers in baseball history to out-homer Napoli through seven MLB seasons. Napoli may not be Cooperstown-bound, but he should still get credit for his glovework as well as his offense, according to Mathis.

“He’s always been able to hit,” Mathis said. “And I always thought he was a pretty good [defensive] catcher too. He had some injuries early and I guess kind of got a bad rap over there with the Angels. I’ve been around him for a long time through the minor leagues and in the big leagues and always knew he had it in him. I knew he was going to hit and become a good hitter, but I’m really happy to see what kind of catcher he evolved into.”

Up Next

Mathis is set for the foreseeable future, yet the uncertainty and opportunity of the open market looms for Napoli. His agent, Brian Grieper, had preliminary extension talks with the Rangers, but the sides agreed to table discussions following the All-Star break.

Grieper suggested in April that Napoli would seek a contract worth more than Victor Martinez’s four-year, $52MM deal and less than Yadier Molina’s five-year, $75MM deal. Miguel Montero’s five-year, $60MM contract could also figure in to talks when they resume after the season. Napoli's leg injury won’t help his free agent stock, and neither will the dropoff in production (at least compared to his exceptional 2011 year). Still, catchers who can hit are always in demand.

As baseball executives and agents prepare to navigate a new set of rules for the first time, this winter’s transactions promise to be as complex as ever. The Rangers could make Napoli a one-year qualifying offer worth $13MM-plus under the sport’s new collective bargaining agreement. Such an offer would link Napoli to draft pick compensation and could affect his free agent value, but it’s not a possibility on which he chooses to dwell.

“My agent explained it to me and I understand it, but I let him take care of it,” Napoli said. “He fills me in on everything I need to know.”

Until the offseason begins, that won’t be much. But once the free agent bidding gets started, Napoli can expect his share of calls.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


Blue Jays Sign Jeff Mathis To Extension

The Blue Jays announced that they have signed Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract extension worth $3MM with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.  The deal marks a lateral move in compensation for the catcher, who made $1.5MM this season after avoiding arbitration with Toronto over the winter.

Mathis, 29, is hitting .215/.252/.415 with six homers in 147 plate appearances this season.  The backstop spent the first seven years of his big league career with the Angels before being traded to the Blue Jays for left-hander Brad Mills.  While Mathis is far from an elite slugger, he has stepped up his offensive production in 2012 and currently has his best OPS of any full campaign.

Earlier today, it was reported that the Blue Jays were on the verge of acquiring fellow veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba off of waivers.


Players To Avoid Arbitration

Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the deadline and we'll keep track of them here:

  • The Orioles have agreed to terms with Dana Eveland on a one-year, $750K deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Giants have agreed to terms with Mike Fontenot on a one-year deal for 2012, avoiding arbitration, MLBTR has learned. It's a $1.05MM deal, according to the Associated Press.
  • The Red Sox announced that they re-signed Matt Albers. He'll earn $1.075MM, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
  • The Padres agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The deal is worth $1.165MM, according to Ronald Blum of the AP
    The Pirates agreed to terms with Jason Grilli on a one-year, $1.1MM deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Rockies agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Slowey obtains $2.75MM from the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2.7MM salary.
  • The Blue Jays agreed to sign Jeff Mathis to one-year deal that guarantees the backstop $1.5MM in 2012, MLBTR has learned. The Blue Jays have since confirmed the move.
  • The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with Jesse Litsch (one-year, $975K) and Dustin McGowan (one-year, $600K) according to a team press release.
  • The Dodgers have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal.
  • The A's announced that they agreed to terms with Landon Powell, Daric Barton and Adam Rosales on one-year deals for 2012. The A's aren't non-tendering any arbitration eligible players this offseason. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears Barton will earn $1.1MM in 2012 (Twitter link). Rosales will earn $600K and Powell will earn $620K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Marlins signed Donnie Murphy to a contract for 2012, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). He'll earn $560K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Brewers announced that they signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. He'll earn $700K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Astros avoided arbitration with Humberto Quintero, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1MM, according to the team. MLBTR had projected a $1.2MM salary for Quintero.
  • The Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams on a one-year deal, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times (on Twitter). Williams agreed to sign for $820K with $120K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).
  • Skip Schumaker is nearing a two-year deal with the Cardinals.

Angels, Blue Jays Swap Jeff Mathis For Brad Mills

The Angels have acquired left-hander Brad Mills from the Blue Jays for Jeff Mathis, reports Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were on the verge of a deal (all Twitter links).

Mills, 26, was the Jays' fourth round pick in 2007. He's seen time in the big leagues in each of the last three seasons, pitching to a 8.57 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 48 1/3 innings spread across nine starts and five relief appearances. In 354 innings at the Triple-A level, he's posted a much more respectable 4.32 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

Mathis, 28, is a non-tender candidate, especially after the Halos acquired Chris Iannetta from the Rockies. He's hit a miserable .193/.245/.282 in 771 plate appearances over the last three seasons while throwing out 24.7% of attempted basestealers. Our projections have him earning $1.8MM next season if does survive the non-tender deadline.