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Did the Blue Jays Fix Jeff Mathis?

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures

No, that’s not your eyes deceiving you … that is in fact Jeff Mathis rounding the bases after a home run. It may have been his first of the season, but he’s already matched one-third of his home run output from last season.

Statistically speaking, Jeff Mathis has been one of the worst hitters in the Major Leagues these past few years. But offense has not always been Mathis’ strong suit, as he’s been revered as a great defensive catcher, and one that calls a great game.

But now that the Blue Jays have their hands on Jeff Mathis, maybe then can turn that reputation around and at least transform him into a respectable hitter.



Whatever John Farrell and Dwayne Murphy have done, it seems to be working. Albeit it’s a minutely small sample size, but Jeff Mathis has four hits in three games; three of those hits being for extra bases.

I don’t know whether the Blue Jays have “fixed” Jeff Mathis, but there is definitely something about his batting stance. Below is a screencap from a random at bat with the Angels last season.

It’s hard to tell from this particular angle, but it looks like Mathis’ legs are very close together. Compare that to this screencap from Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays:

This clearly shows Jeff Mathis has a much more open batting stance, and his feet definitely have a bigger gap in between them. I’d even go as far to say that Jeff Mathis’ new stance looks  very similar to Brett Lawrie’s. Here’s the reverse angle:

Again, nine at bats is an extremely small sample size, but the results thus far are encouraging. If Dwayne Murphy can work his magic with Jeff Mathis like he did with Jose Bautista and even increase Mathis’ output by 1%, then that will at least be some improvement.

Sorry kids … J.P. isn’t going anywhere

Before things start to get out of hand, I think it’s only appropriate to address the starting catcher “controversy” … if you could even call that. Jeff Mathis is not going to usurp J.P. Arencibia as the starting catcher.

Arencibia’s 2 for 32 start to the season is a little disheartening, but by no means is his job in jeopardy. Mathis may be the defensively superior catcher, but even at his very worst offensively, J.P. Arencibia still has the ability to hit over the Mendoza Line through the season … Mathis does not.

I really don’t understand why there’s all this concern about J.P. Arencibia, because he’s the same three true outcome hitter this season that he’s always been. J.P. is a hacker; which means he’s going to strike out a hell of a hot, but he will get a hold of some pitches.

In the meantime, I’m not holding my breath for J.P. Arencibia to ever hit above the eight spot in the lineup. John Farrell should never have him in a high leverage spot in the lineup, and that’s why he’ll probably always hit 8th or 9th.

Fans may have less qualms with Jeff Mathis right now, but he’ll continue to only get the odd start behind the plate. J.P. Arencibia is here to stay, folks.

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Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his son for the next 20 years.

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    April 19, 2012 - 6:18 pm

    JP is just scuttling……..he will be fine. Everyone put the panic button away.

  2. Anonymous

    April 19, 2012 - 6:57 pm

    His name is JPK not JPA. And for the record, he sucks an extraordinary amount of you-know-what.

    (in case you didn't notice, I think Mathis should be starting over JPK).

    1. Anonymous

      April 19, 2012 - 7:12 pm

      I'm sure you weren't saying that last year when he was hitting 23 HRs.

    2. Anonymous

      April 24, 2012 - 7:47 pm

      actually i was, ass hat. JPK is a useless tool. well i should revise that sentiment a tad – i do think he is good on the basepaths for a catcher. but aside from that he's a useless tool. the jays missed their window of opportunity to trade him this offseason. fast forward travis d'arnaud STAT.

  3. Anonymous

    April 22, 2012 - 1:15 pm

    Once TdA is ready this will all sort itself out. Some team in need of catching help will overpay for JPA. Hopefully with a high ceiling AA level pitcher.

    I think we have to be patient and let these players develop. If the Jays have found something Mathis's swing this only adds to the ridiculous depth we already have behind the plate and only serves to make us that much more flexible if we are looking to make a deal.

    1. Anonymous

      April 24, 2012 - 7:48 pm

      here here…bravo.

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