Jeff Mathis Rumors

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.


Angels Notes: Maicer Izturis, Jeff Mathis

The Angels made their first major move of the offseason last night, acquiring Chris Iannetta from the Rockies for Tyler Chatwood. Here’s a look ahead at what GM Jerry Dipoto may do next…



Orioles, Rangers Discussing Taylor Teagarden Trade

The Orioles and Rangers have had ongoing talks about a deal that would send Taylor Teagarden to Baltimore, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The teams don't have a match yet, though they have discussed specific players.

The Orioles are looking for a solid defender who's comfortable backing Matt Wieters up, Connolly writes. Baltimore isn't interested in Jeff Mathis, who appears to be available now that the Angels have obtained Chris Iannetta, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). 

The Orioles are showing interest in Jason Varitek, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. They have offers out to some minor league free agents, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Kubatko suggests the team will likely make an acquisition today (Twitter link).

While the Orioles have just one catcher — Wieters — on their 40-man roster, the Rangers have three of them. Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba are ahead of Teagarden on Texas' depth chart, making him expendable.


Dipoto Talks Catcher, Callaspo, Trout

Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has been on the job for approximately two weeks and he's starting to get an intimate sense of his organization's strengths and weaknesses. He likes what he sees so far, but there's still a gap between the Angels' roster and where Dipoto wants it to be.

"Right now, we're a highly competitive Major League Baseball team," he told MLBTR in Milwaukee. "Where we want to be is we want to win the World Series and that’ll be the goal every year."

The Angels will look to improve their offense — particularly their ability to get on base — this winter. Jeff Mathis, a non-tender candidate with a projected salary of $1.8MM and a career OBP of .257 faces an uncertain future in Anaheim. But Dipoto, a former big league pitcher, knows the value of an above-average receiver.

"I do think there’s a lot to be said for what a catcher does behind the plate, how he calls the game," Dipoto said, speaking in general terms. "I'd be hypocritical if I told you otherwise. I always liked the guys who could catch. But there’s the balance that you have to bring to the game and that’s a fact."

Dipoto doesn't expect a major reversal in offensive production behind the plate to occur instantaneously. It's possible Mathis will return as an arbitration eligible player in 2012. However, I've heard the Angels are asking around about catchers. 

Dipoto likes Alberto Callaspo’s ability to get on base, make contact and control the strike zone. At this point, it's not clear whether the versatile 28-year-old will return to third in 2012 or play another position. The Angels intend for Mike Trout to play every day whether or not he's in the Major Leagues and questions about service time will be secondary to the young outfielder's ability to excel in the Majors.

"You need to put players in a position where they can be effective, where they can change your future," Dipoto said.


AL West Notes: Darvish, Larson, Mathis, A’s

C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland will start the first two games of the ALCS for the Rangers, with Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison slated for Games 3 and 4 at Comerica Park.  Here's the latest from not only the Rangers, but the entire AL West….

  • Opposing scouts predict the Rangers will win the bidding for Yu Darvish, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  Several teams, including some of the biggest markets in the game, have been rumored to be pursuing Darvish this winter.  Nightengale's scout sources, for the record, unanimously predict "stardom" for Darvish if he jumps to the majors.
  • Mariners minority owner Chris Larson has seen his personal fortune "largely depleted" by the recession and a divorce from his wife, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  Larson is the Mariners' largest minority owner, with a stake of 30.63% of the club, and Baker wonders if Larson's financial troubles will affect the team's payroll or force him to sell part of his ownership share.
  • The criticism from Angels fans about Jeff Mathis' poor hitting "has become an emotional drain" for Mathis, opines MLB.com's Lyle Spencer, who thinks the catcher would "settle in and be a fine total player" elsewhere.  Also as part of this mailbag piece, Spencer speculates about two outside-the-box candidates (Bud Black and Joe Maddon) with Angels ties as LAA's next general manager.  
  • The Athletics are expected to pursue Mike Aldrete as the club's new hitting coach, reports MLB.com's Jane Lee.  The A's can't officially talk to Aldrete, the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach, until St. Louis has been eliminated from postseason play.

Pirates, Angels Discussed Jones For Mathis Swap

The Pirates and Angels had serious discussions about a trade that would have sent Garrett Jones to Anaheim for Jeff Mathis, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, the Pirates decided to keep Jones instead of pursuing talks further.

Since the Pirates’ two primary catchers, Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder, are on the disabled list, they’d like to upgrade their catching depth (they’re currently using Michael McKenry and Eric Fryer). However, finding alternatives is proving difficult for the 47-43 Pirates.

The Angels would like to acquire a left-handed power hitter who can play first base, outfield and DH. Though Russell Branyan had potential as a powerful lefty bat, he has hit just .178/.255/.267 since signing with Los Angeles.


Red Sox Still Considering Catching Options

The Red Sox have made contact with Bengie Molina, but aren't ready to move on him yet, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. With Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hitting a combined .179/.246/.241 in 123 plate appearances this season, Molina could grow more appealing to the Sox in the near future.

We heard last month that Boston was eyeing catching help and that Molina was on the team's list of possibilities. Although Ivan Rodriguez and Chris Snyder were also on that list, Rosenthal says the Sox are "cool" on Pudge, and the Pirates are more inclined to move Ryan Doumit than Snyder.

Jeff Mathis, who received high praise from Varitek, could be available as well. However, as Rosenthal points out, while Mathis is a strong defensive backstop, his .199/.262/.311 career slash line wouldn't help the Sox.


Cafardo On Rays, Mathis, Flowers, Red Sox

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opens this week's Sunday Notes column by taking a look at how the Rays have succeeded this year depite losing many key players in the offseason. Cafardo points out that the AL East looks like a "very flawed division" so far, meaning the Rays could once again be bunched up with the Yankees and Red Sox in the standings. Here are some other notes from Cafardo:

  • Jason Varitek praised the defensive abilites of Jeff Mathis, who may be a trade candidate: "He’s a very athletic catcher. He has a good arm. He creates a good situation for his pitching staff. You can tell the pitchers really enjoy throwing to him. He’s fun to watch back there because he does things so easily. He’s one of the best."
  • Tyler Flowers, the catcher for the White Sox' Triple-A club in Charlotte, could be available and was scouted by the Red Sox and a handful of other teams in Spring Training.
  • Red Sox minor leaguer Josh Reddick has "generated a lot of chatter among scouts," according to Cafardo, who speculates the outfielder would draw plenty of interest if Boston made him available. One scout on Reddick: "He’s a major league player and he’d be playing for a lot of teams in the big leagues right now."
  • Former Red Sox and White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk would like a chance to instruct young players for either organization, but says he's never received a serious offer to do so.

Cafardo’s Latest: Ortiz, Red Sox, Martin, Angels

In today's column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo wonders what the future holds for David Ortiz after his contract expires at the end of this season. An American League official says the Red Sox should be "looking at keeping his salary level around the same if his production maintains steady." Ortiz, who is earning $12MM in 2011, would like to retire with the Sox, and acknowledges that signing with a National League club is unlikely: "I would have to consider it. I don’t think people want me for that, because I’m a hitter." Here are a few of Cafardo's other notes:

  • In the short term, Marco Scutaro, who has been discussed internally by the Phillies, could be valuable to a team looking for a middle infielder. Down the line, the Sox could still have an excess of infielders – Cafardo says Jose Iglesias should be ready to be a full-time MLB shortstop in 2012, meaning Boston may not have enough room in its lineup for him, Jed Lowrie, and Kevin Youkilis. If I'm the Red Sox, I view that as a good problem to have, and address it if and when it comes to that.
  • A Dodgers official concedes that Russell Martin is "playing great" for the Yankees. "Better than he played for us," adds the official. However, he cautions that Martin tends to fade in the second half, which has to be of some concern for the Yanks. While Martin's career batting splits don't fully back up that assertion, the backstop did miss most of the second half in 2010 with a hip injury.
  • The Angels have been exploring potential trades involving their catchers since Spring Training. They'd likely prefer dealing Bobby Wilson to Jeff Mathis, and may be seeking a left-handed outfield bat in return.