The Phillies announced Wednesday that veteran catcher Jeff Mathis, who was in camp on a minor league contract, has requested and been granted his release by the club. He’s once again a free agent.
Mathis, 38 next week, went 6-for-29 with a homer and a pair of doubles with the Phillies this spring. His chances of making the roster seemed to improve when J.T. Realmuto sustained a small fracture in his thumb early in camp, but Realmuto has returned to the lineup and is now looking likelier to be ready for the opener. Mathis’ release only seems to add to that likelihood.
Now back on the market, Mathis will likely seek another opportunity from a club looking to add a glove-first backup behind the plate. Offense has never been Mathis’ calling card, but his bat bottomed out from 2019-20 with Texas, when he produced just a .159/.212/.252 batting line through 312 plate appearances. His work this spring was a bit more encouraging, however, and Mathis has long been regarded as one of the game’s premier defensive players at any position. Even if last year’s defensive ratings took a dip, another club in need of a lightly used backup could show interest in bringing him aboard for his defensive aptitude and the extensive knowledge he can share with the organization’s younger catchers and/or pitchers.
Hosmer for HOF
I could see the Padres totally making this move even if Nola comes back by opening day. He’d be a fourth catcher possibly but Nola plays as a utility and Campusano isn’t ready to start every day. Injuries will continue to happen as the season goes on and we can’t miss a step make it happen Preller!!
Padres will probably sign him for no other reason than they seem to have an unlimited number of roster spots
And so ends the Phillies’ World Series hopes.
Phillies are cowards, releasing the best baseball player of all time.
Clearly they’re tanking. No other reason they’d release JEFF MATHIS.
Mathis would have opted out if he didn’t make the club. That’s what happened. I was hoping that he would stay in AAA to mentor the younger pitchers and catchers
False, Phillies are lying
I now see that Mathis requested his release. Mathis clearly knew that the Phillies chances of winnng anything this year were in the negatives so it was a good move on his part.
Math is Jeff’s strong suit.
I see what you did there…
Phillies are lying, You really want to believe the team that at the beginning of the offseason was crying poor yelling that they had no money only to suddenly be able to resign JT after fans got mad.
@cubswin108 It’s not rocket science, bud. They were able to bring in Dave Dombrowski. Once they signed him, they agreed to spend money. The team needed a direction and they got it with the Dombrowski hire. Also, they never thought JT would settle for what he got. The market worked in the Phils favor. Don’t look for conspiracies when they aren’t there.
Hope the Yankees consider signing him. Sanchez appears to be well on his way to returning to his 2020 self after a fast start. He needs a fresh start somewhere else. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s moved by May. Higashioka has had a bad Spring both offensively and defensively. If the Yankees can stay healthy all they need is a defensively minded catcher to bat ninth.
@Mickey777 If you think Mathis is better than Sanchez…hahah
He’s obviously not, but if you think Sanchez will return to his apparition form and not bat .200 this year…
Call the Ghost Busters, there’s an apparition loose!
Jeff Mathis will have a higher avg and better defensee
@cubswin108 Better defense for sure. Average? Mathis hits like a pitcher.
Mathis career avg: .194… Sanchez: .236…. your theory doesn’t hold up. Mathis has gotten on base 25% of the time in his career. That’s unplayable. Find a different way to irrationally slam Sanchez.
He probably is better but not in New York. This has Sonny Grey syndrome written all over it.
I get the memes, but this guy is a much better instructor than player. He’d be a huge help to young catchers in the minors. He frames the ball like no one else. His offense is too bad to justify a major league roster spot on most teams.
At least he hit a home run in Spring!
Where will this cockroach wind up next?
You seem charming.
Cockroach was not a slight against Mathis. It was a testament to his knack of staying in the majors forever, guy.
Yea, as in Armeggedon could arrive and there’d still be folks out there going: I think we can get good value out of Jeff Mathis and Billy Hamilton; no one else could but we have a “plan”. Fans need to learn that one exceptional skill does not a player make, unless that skill is getting on base or pitching well. Defense only, speed only, power only guys are not worthwhile. But so many fanbases will only ever learn the hard way.
Teams sign the players not the fans. Therefore, I don’t see any reason for any fans to “learn” beyond those involved in competitive fantasy baseball leagues. Otherwise, why should they care when it’s the teams signing the very players you speak of?
Not saying I disagree with your logic, though I personally believe there are exceptions; especially in the defense only category. Why else would teams continue to offer them contracts and ST invites?
FB Bailey must be inconsolable right now. Poor guy. Who is going to MATHIS this year?
Catcher is the one position where even with the roster makeup for 21 being different with so many pitchers, that a quality defense first backup is needed. He may have to wait for an injury but he shouldn’t be unemployed for long.
Alabama Braves Fan 8
A good backup for the Braves
a backup who can’t even hit above the mendoza line. PASS>
A Backup that provides amazing defense and some of the best pitch-framing in the game. Along with that an amazing mentor for Catchers and Pitchers. I could see the Red Sox signing Mathis. Because Red Sox have an amazing offense and Mathis can mentor Christian Vázquez
The defense doesn’t add enough to make him worthwhile. There are limits to how bad you can be with the bat and still add positive value, even with a great glove. Can’t see why so many folks don’t get that.
Good move by Jeff. When you’re that good of a player it is YOU that chooses what team you land with, not the team itself. He clearly knew that the Phillies weren’t worthy.
Well don’t be looking for him to be signing with the Rangers then, lol
No, he needs a team he can teach. That Phillies team is unteachable.
“No, he needs a team he can teach. That Phillies team is unteachable.”
What does this even mean? Also what can Mathis possible teach JT Realmuto? Geez louise.
Yea I think the Phillies already have a pretty good teacher in JT.
remember Von, you just can’t fix stupid..
This thread is gold!
PERFECT! Angels should bring him back, let Ohtani hit when he pitches and DH for Mathis.
I know it was just a joke, but you can’t DH for a position player
I don’t see the defensively strong, six-year veteran Vazquez being a target for “mentoring,” and Plawecki is a sufficiently decent backup. Better matches for a glove-only guy would include the Orioles (where he can/might be an effective mentor for Rutschman if the team decides to bring him up now), the Tigers (where he would undoubtedly help all the pitchers, young and old) and, even the Rays, where it would be difficult for anyone to be a worse hitter than Zunino.
If he cant land a suitable gig I hope we can bring him back. He could really help work with the AAA arms and catchers.
I can see a lot of teams wanting him at AAA to help work with pitchers but it seems he wants to be in the bigs; it’ll be interesting to see if someone signs him.
So I guess offensive ability DOES matter for a backup catcher. At least somewhat, despite what many claim.
Stan the Man
Say it ain’t so Joe…
I’m afraid your friend Mathis is really MY friend Mathis.
Brick House Coffee Tables Inc
I could see him going to either Chicago club. The White Sox are currently trotting out the corpse of Jonathan Lucroy as Grandal’s backup (stop with any talking about Collins as being useful on a playoff team) and the Cubs are going to have to put Austin Romine on the DL and play PJ Higgins as the backup with only Jose Lobaton at the alternate site.
You wanna completely give up on Collins after just 120 MLB plate appearances? His minor league numbers are very good.
Brick House Coffee Tables Inc
He’s a decent to good hitter. He’s not someone you want in there defensively on a team expected to make the playoffs.
If they are going to go with Lucroy on the 25-man, Mathis is a better choice. That doesn’t mean that they can’t also keep Collins for his bat, either all season or on the shuttle to Charlotte.
Yea I’ve no knowledge of Collins’ defensive abilities… I was kind of assuming he must be decent, I guess.