Angels, Mathis avoid arbitration with $1.7M agreement


Baseball’s salary arbitration process is generally a good thing in that it can help young and productive players get the money they deserve well before they are allowed to test the free market.

It also presents some hilarious situations.

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels avoided arbitration Wednesday with catcher Jeff Mathis by agreeing to a one-year, $1.7 million contract.

Mathis, 27, batted just .195 with a .291 on-base percentage and .278 slugging percentage last season and also played poor defense behind the plate.  In truth, he might have been the worst player in baseball to register more than 200 plate appearances.

But that’s how arbitration goes.  Mathis made $1.3 million last season in his first year of eligibility and he will probably get a raise next season as well no matter what kind of results he turns in this year.

Unless, of course, the Angels want to non-tender him and risk another team picking him up as a free agent.  One would have to assume that manager Mike Scioscia would be against that type of move because, after all, he was the one that allowed Mathis to play so often in 2010.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.