Arizona offered Rod Barajas the backup catcher job in December and when he turned it down the Diamondbacks signed Wil Nieves instead.
Barajas eventually ended up taking a minor-league from the Diamondbacks anyway, but today they released him. That means Nieves will be Miguel Montero’s backup and Barajas will have to go looking for another minor-league deal, as Arizona cut him loose to avoid paying a $100,000 bonus for agreeing to a Triple-A assignment.
Barajas can’t really throw any more and has always made a ton of outs, but he still has enough power to be a not-horrible veteran backup at age 37.
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.