June 5, 2023

Jeff Mathis has requested and been granted his release. Boosts J.T. Realmuto’s likelihood for starting Opening Day


Photo by Steven Falk/Philadelphia Inquirer

Veteran catcher Jeff Mathis won’t be with the Philadelphia Phillies for Opening Day as the team has announced that Mathis has requested and been granted his release.

Mathis was in Phillies camp on a minor-league contract, and is now a free agent, again.

In his 29 spring at-bats, Mathis picked up six hits, including one home run and two doubles as he made a push to make the major-league roster. Those chances seemed to receive a boost when starting catcher J.T. Realmuto, who was just signed to a massive five year contract worth $115.5 million, suffered a fractured thumb shortly after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, but Realmuto returned to make his spring debut on Tuesday night and hit a home run in his first at-bat. With Realmuto looking to be on track to be ready for Opening Day, Mathis’ chances to make the big-league roster took a hit.

Mathis, known much more for his defense behind the plate, has had an interesting big-league career that includes 16 seasons and five teams. He has a career slash line of .194/.253/.300, but has always managed to find playing time thanks to his defensive work. He batted .161 in 24 games with the Rangers last season.

Fans started to love Mathis as a nice backup for Realmuto, but it doesn’t seem like Mathis was interested.

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