Anaheim, CA – Working late into the evening, The Angels today announced the club has agreed to trade Bobby Abreu to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Catcher Jeff Mathis, and two players to be named later.
Abreu, who was in Friday’s Cactus League lineup batting sixth and playing left field, has grumbled publicly about his diminished role with the team even before spring training. When he reported to camp, the Angels told him he could expect to get about 400 at-bats this season, but the rapid improvement of slugger Kendrys Morales quickly made that a hollow promise. "I knew that Kendrys was back", Abreu told reporters late Saturday evening. "There’s no place for me here in Anaheim."
Jeff Mathis, who batted .174 will return as catcher for the Angels. Manager Mike Scioscia stated: "We needed our catcher back, I have full faith in his abilities behind the plate." Mathis hit 22 home runs for the Angels last season before being traded to Toronto for pitcher Brad Mills.
GM Jerry Dipoto weighed in "Creating overall depth on the catching staff is a primary focus, and we’re in a better position today than we were yesterday." The athletic and agile Mathis has been one of baseball’s best defensive catchers since the Angels called him up in 2006, but he has been one of the game’s weakest hitters, with a career .194 average, .257 on-base percentage, 26 homers and 139 RBIs in 426 games.
But Mathis was a fan favorite, and liked by pitchers and Mike Scioscia alike.
The Blue Jays have until April 31st to decide on which players they will send the Angels.