Royals claim catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics

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The Royals announced this afternoon that they have claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics. Kottaras was designated for assignment last week after Oakland acquired John Jaso from the Mariners in the three-team Michael Morse deal.

Some speculated that the catching-starved Yankees should have put in a claim, but because the Royals finished at 72-90 last year, they had a higher waiver priority. Kottaras signed a one-year, $1 million contract with Oakland earlier this month to avoid arbitration, so the Royals will now be responsible for his 2013 salary.

Kottaras, 29, batted .211/.351/.415 with nine home runs, 31 RBI and a .766 OPS over 85 games last season between the Brewers and Athletics. He figures to serve as Salvador Perez’s primary backup this year.

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.