The Braves have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran catcher Jeff Mathis, David O’Brien of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Mathis was released by the Phillies from a previous minors deal earlier this week.
It’s an early birthday present for Mathis, who turns 38 years old tomorrow. Should Mathis hit the field with the Braves this season, it will mark his 17th MLB campaign. Mathis has played for five different organizations during his long career, including a year with the Blue Jays in 2012 when current Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos was running the Toronto front office.
O’Brien notes that Mathis is “looking to transition into coaching” as he winds down his playing career, and surely he’ll find some interest after his long and respected career behind the plate. Before he hangs up the cleats, however, Mathis will provide some depth behind Travis d’Arnaud and Alex Jackson, and perhaps provide some mentorship to young backstop William Contreras, one of the Braves’ top prospects.
Never known for his hitting, Mathis has carved out a niche for himself as one of the sport’s best defensive catchers. He is perhaps best known for the seven-year stint with the Angels that began his MLB career, and Mathis most recently played in 110 games with the Rangers over the last two seasons.