6:35pm: The Diamondbacks have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher Jeff Mathis, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports on Twitter. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic had just tweeted the connection between player and team.
Mathis will step into the fold as Welington Castillo departs, with the Diamondbacks electing to go with a less-costly, more defensively proficient option behind the dish. He’ll presumably share time in some manner with Chris Herrmann, who posted a big offensive season (albeit in a short sample) in 2016. Oscar Hernandez also remains an option on the 40-man.
Unlike Castillo, who is a shaky framer, Mathis has long been viewed as a strong gloveman. Both StatCorner and Baseball Prospectus rate him as one of the game’s better receivers at winning borderline strike calls for his pitchers.
Of course, Mathis also brings little to the table offensively. He’s a lifetime .197/.254/.308 hitter over his dozen seasons in the majors. Though his 63 OPS+ last year was his best mark since 2012, Arizona won’t expect much at the plate.