|Hired as Angels general manager in late October, Jerry Dipoto waited a month to begin reshaping the Los Angeles roster through trade. He waited two days to swing a second deal, sending catch-and-throw backstop Jeff Mathis to the Blue Jays for 26-year-old lefthander Brad Mills, who started the 2011 Triple-A all-star game for the Pacific Coast League. He finished the season with 136 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP, both of which ranked second in the PCL.
Dipoto’s first trade with the Angels netted veteran backstop Chris Iannetta from the Rockies, a move that displaced Mathis as starter. Angels manager Mike Scioscia loved Mathis’ defensive work and leadership qualities behind the plate, but the catcher’s bat did not develop with regular play. Mathis started roughly half the Angels’ games from 2008-11, and in those four years no regular catcher approached his bottom-feeding .546 OPS. Arbitration eligible for the third and final time, Mathis still runs the risk of being non-tendered at the Dec. 12 deadline, even with the change in employers.
Barring the acquisition of another catcher, the Angels will start Iannetta in 2012 and back him up with either Bobby Wilson, who is out of options, or 2011 rookie Hank Conger.
|Brad Mills, lhp
Born: March 5, 1985 in Mesa, Ariz.
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Bats: L. Throws: L.
Career Transactions: Selected by Blue Jays in fourth round of 2007 draft; signed June 14, 2007.
|Blue Jays Acquire|
|Jeff Mathis, c
Age: 28. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2012, then can opt for free agency following the season ($1.7 million salary in 2011).