After the Los Angeles Angels acquired catcher Chris Iannetta on Wednesday, it was clear that the days of Jeff Mathis in Anaheim were over. On Saturday that became official as Mathis was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for left-handed pitcher Brad Mills.
Mathis was known for his defense throughout his parts of seven seasons with the Angels, as he was popular as a receiver among the Angels' pitching staff. His reputation and popularity, especially with manager Mike Scioscia, went a long way, considering that Mathis is one of the worst-hitting catchers of all-time.
The 28-year old Mathis hit .174/.225/.259 in 93 games in 2011, and for his career has hit a paltry .194/.257/.301. His adjusted OPS+ of 50 (where 100 is average, and anything below 100 is below average) is the ninth lowest among all who have caught at least 300 games since 1901.
Mathis made $1.7 million in 2011 and has one more year of arbitration eligibility. With the acquisition of Iannetta from the Colorado Rockies earlier in the week, Mathis was a candidate to be non-tendered on December 12. So that the Angels got anything for Mathis was a bit of a coup.
What they got was Mills, who has an 8.57 ERA in 48 innings in parts of three big league seasons. He has mostly been a starter, as he has started nine of his 14 big league games and 87 of his 91 minor league contests. In 2011 Mills was 11-9 with a 4.00 ERA with Triple A Las Vegas in 24 starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, and was 1-2 with a 9.82 ERA in 18 innings over five games, including four starts, with Toronto.
Mills, who turns 27 in March, has already used three option years, but doesn't yet have five full years as a professional, as he was drafted in the fourth round in 2007. He has one option year remaining.
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