After Jose Molina signed with the Rays last week, it became clear that the Jays were going to have to acquire a new back up catcher through free agency or a trade.
Generally speaking, back up catchers are a dime a dozen. If they were effective players, they would be starting catchers. This is why so many of the lot tend to be journeymen, who flip from team to team, year in, year out.
It usually doesn’t make a huge difference which back up backstop is chosen, as long a they are proficient defensively, they typically all put up similar lackluster offensive lines.
One glaring exception to that rule however, is heading to Toronto:
wOBA: .246/ WAR -1.8
Jeff Mathis is one of-if not the absolute- worst hitters in all of major league baseball. To my mind, the only reason Mathis has stuck around for 426 games and 1360 plate appearances is the delusional mancrush his former manager Mike Scoiscia had on him.
Mathis is an out making machine, who has no place on the Jays line up card in 2012. I don’t expect the Jays to fill the back up catcher role with mid-90s Mike Piazza, but surely they can do better than Mathis.
Bill James projections for Mathis’ 2012 season:
.202/.266/.298/ wOBA .246
The Jays could have easily kept Brad Mills, and paid Brian Jeroloman a fraction of Mathis’ salary to back up JPA. It’s a puzzling move, particularly because Mathis was probably going to be non tendered in a couple weeks, and could have been acquired without giving up a player. (Or just not acquired at all…)