Russ Adams

Former first-round pick Russ Adams retires

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J.P. Ricciardi’s first draft pick in his stint as the Toronto Blue Jays GM retired Thursday, as Triple-A Buffalo’s Russ Adams called it a career.

Adams was the 14th overall pick in the 2002 draft.  After three steady seasons in the minors, he debuted with the Blue Jays in 2004, hitting .306/.359/.528 with four homers in 78 at-bats.  That earned him a starting job in 2005.  He went on to hit a respectable .256/.325/.383 with eight homers and 63 RBI.  However, the Blue Jays soured on him defensively as the year went on.

As it turned out, those 139 major league games he played in as a rookie were more than he’d play in the rest of his career combined.  The Blue Jays completely gave up on him as a shortstop after a 2006 season in which he hit .219/.282/.319 in 90 games, and since he didn’t really impress at second or third either, he was unable to carve out a career as a utilityman.  He was last seen in the majors in eight games with the Jays in 2009.

This year was his second with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.  He hit a solid .264/.444/.473 with 16 homers last year, but he was off to a poor .180/.296/.246 start in 72 at-bats this season.

Diamondbacks sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Jeff Mathis #6 of the Miami Marlins hits a grand slam during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.

The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.

Jimmy Rollins wants to play in 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 10:  Jimmy Rollins #7 of the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 10, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.

Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.

Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.