The Diamondbacks have reached agreement on a 2-year, $4 million deal with catcher Jeff Mathis, a source confirms to SB Nation. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman was first to report the deal.
Arizona adds Mathis after non-tendering Welington Castillo, who was slated to be their starting catcher next season. The move appears to be a cost-cutting measure for a club, as Castillo was due, as a third-year arbitration-eligible player, to earn a raise from the $3.7 million he earned last year.
It is unclear if Arizona will make another move at catcher this winter under new general manager Mike Hazen. Mathis, a career backup, could be the first move before the club pursues a top free agent like Matt Wieters or Wilson Ramos. The club currently has Mathis and Chris Herrmann on its depth chart.
Mathis, 33, had a strong market in free-agency after hitting .238/.267/.333 with two homers in 41 games for the Marlins last season. He was one of a handful of veteran free-agent catchers on the market this year, and joins Jason Castro (Twins) and Drew Butera (Royals) as players who have already signed.
Mathis is a veteran of 12 major-league seasons with the Angels (2005-12) and Marlins (2013-16) and owns a career .197/.254/.308 line in that time. He is viewed as a plus defensive catcher.