Elbo: What if he hits like Pat Metheny? 

As El Lefty notes below, the last time he traveled during wintertime the Giants added A.J. Pierzynski as their new catcher. Now that El Lefty is gone again, MLB.com is reporting that the Giants have signed Mike Matheny to a three-year deal worth $9 million. [UPDATE: ESPN.com reports that it's $10.5m.] I'm assuming he'll be the Opening Day catcher, and Yorvit will continue to catch about twice a week.

This move certainly spells the end of A.J.'s tumultuous tenure with the Giants, and replaces the youngest player in the everyday lineup with another player on the wrong side of 33. Matheny can't really be counted on for much more than a thoroughly unexciting .320 OBP and .350 SLG. That said, he will play superior defense, will ground into half as many double plays as A.J., and presumably will be a helpful mentor to Yorvit Torrealba rather than an antagonist to the pitching staff as A.J. was. It's not hard to imagine Torrealba eclipsing Matheny and taking over the starting role sometime during the course of the three-year contract, though I have my doubts about Yorvit ever cutting it as an "A" catcher in the National League.

I see that Matheny spent time on the 15-day disabled list this year. What are the chances of a 34, 35 and 36-year-old catcher staying off it for a whole season?

The Cards could get away with keeping Matheny around because their lineup was so potent; they simply gave away the eighth and ninth place hitters, and dominated with one through seven. We can't do that, I'm afraid. Defense may be the new OBP, but Matheny could easily produce Neifi Perez-like numbers, and we all know what happened to him.


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