When the Diamondbacks’ Jeff Mathis describes the role of a catcher, he constructs an image that’s equal parts leader, strategist, psychologist and athlete. He believes that if it’s not the most important position on the field, it has to be up there.
“I think you start putting zeros up on the board,” he said, “it’s tough for another team to beat you if they don’t score.”
Mathis’ sentiments are about as old as the game itself, and in some ways, they are the same beliefs that shaped his new team’s offseason philosophy with regard to the position. The Diamondbacks are hoping to take things to another level.
“We’re looking into building the industry’s most intelligent catchers,” Diamondbacks catching coach Robby Hammock said. “With the resources we have and that we’ve brought in, we have a chance to do that. There’s so many things, so many angles that we’re going to try to take.”
They’ll be coming at it with almost entirely new personnel. There’s a new front office under General Manager Mike Hazen, including analytics head Mike Fitzgerald, who has been heavily involved in the club’s catching plans. There’s a new manager, Torey Lovullo. Hammock is in his first year in his position.
And there’s change behind the plate, with Mathis and fellow veteran Chris Iannetta coming aboard as free agents in the offseason, joining incumbent Chris Herrmann in what’s expected to be a three-way timeshare.
To read more about the Diamondbacks’ new catching philosophy, click here.