Matt Carpenter to sub for David Freese at third base

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Matt Carpenter spent months trying to learn second base and looked good enough that the Cardinals were set to make him the Opening Day starter there, but now he’ll shift across the diamond.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Carpenter will likely fill in for David Freese at third base, with Daniel Descalso taking over at second base.

Presumably once Freese returns from his back injury they’ll go back to the original plan of Carpenter taking most of the starts at second base. Carpenter hit his way into the lineup, batting .294 with an .828 OPS in 114 games last season, but it’s his ability to play wherever he’s needed defensively that could save the Cardinals early considering their many banged up position players.

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.