Marlins announce Mathis deal, claim Berry

Veteran catcher signs 1-year contract while lefty comes over on waiver claim

Marlins announce Mathis deal, claim Berry

MIAMI -- Before taking a couple of days off to celebrate the holidays, the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon announced the signing of catcher Jeff Mathis to a one-year contract, and also claimed left-hander Tim Berry off waivers from the Orioles.

Mathis' return was expected, as the 32-year-old reached agreement last week, and he will be entering his fourth season with the organization. Berry, 24, had been in the Orioles' system since he was a 50th-round Draft pick by Baltimore in 2009. The two moves set Miami's roster at its 40-man limit.

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Mathis will earn $1.5 million, the same salary he had in 2015. He's one of the most respected players on the club, earning the praise of his teammates as a leader and handler of pitchers.

The Marlins now will go with J.T. Realmuto as their starting catcher and Mathis as his backup. Tomas Telis, rated by MLBPipeline.com as Miami's No. 8 prospect, projects to open the season at Triple-A New Orleans.

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A number of Marlins players urged management to sign Mathis, who appeared in 32 games last season. He missed nearly two months due to a fractured right finger. In 93 at-bats, Mathis batted .161 with two homers and 12 RBIs.

Berry, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder from San Diego, made 23 starts at Double-A last year, posting a 2-7 record with a 7.32 ERA in 82 1/3 innings. In 139 Minor League games, the lefty has a 4.64 ERA.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.