Padres nearing agreement with catcher Gregg Zaun

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From Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune comes word that the Padres are “close to” agreement on a contract with free agent catcher Gregg Zaun.

Zaun drew interest from the Cardinals and Mariners back in early December, but those talks never went anywhere and he’s been off the radar for the past month-plus.  The Cards eventually went with Gerald Laird as their new backup to Yadier Molina and the M’s settled on Miguel Olivo.

Zaun, 40 in April, was hampered by a serious shoulder injury last season in Milwaukee and batted just .265/.350/.392 with two home runs and 14 RBI while making only 117 plate appearances.

He’s better than those numbers, but not by much.

The veteran will have to battle Rob Johnson and Guillermo Quiroz during spring training for the No. 2 gig behind starting catcher Nick Hundley.  If Zaun doesn’t succeed, it’s likely that he might consider retirement.

Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.

Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.

The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.