Simon: Diamondbacks bring framing into focus with catching switch

From SABR member Mark Simon at on December 5, 2016:

There are many big deals to be made at this week’s winter meetings, but sometimes the best deals are the small ones — the ones you barely notice on a random winter Friday while pining for spring to get here ASAP. Mike Hazen’s most recent move in his first winter as Diamondbacks general manager was to non-tender everyday catcher Welington Castillo and sign former Angels and Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year deal worth $4 million.

Mathis hit .238 with two home runs in 126 at-bats last season. He turns 34 just before Opening Day. His slash line over 12 major-league seasons is .197/.254/.308. His .562 OPS is the lowest of any active player with at least 1,000 plate appearances. Mathis doesn’t have a high Q rating either. His Twitter following barely clears 1,500.

So what makes the Diamondbacks signing the underappreciated Mathis a big deal?

“His defense has always been his calling card,” one major-league scout said. “His hands are excellent. His arm strength and accuracy are above average. He blocks pitches in the dirt well. He handles pitching staffs well and fulfills the pitching coach’s game plans ideally.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 6, 2016. Last Updated: December 6, 2016.