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Marlins expected to exercise Mathis' option

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The Marlins are reportedly interested in bringing the 31-year old back as a backup to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

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When Jeff Mathis was traded to the Marlins, he was a minor part of a major deal. A piece of the package Miami received from Toronto during the post-2012 fire sale, Mathis has developed into a consistent backup option, and MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported the Marlins are expected to exercise his option for 2015.

In 64 games last season, Mathis posted a .200/.263/.274 batting line to complement two home runs and 12 RBIs. But the Marlins have reportedly been extremely content with the way he has handled a young pitching staff.

Before focusing on free-agent signings, the Marlins have decided to retain one of their own. According to sources, the team plans on picking up catcher Jeff Mathis' $1.5 million option.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was signed to be the squad's starting catcher last offseason, and while the Marlins would have liked to seen more offense and plus defense, he too was able manage a young pitching staff that was without Jose Fernandez for almost the entire season.

Saltalamacchia, entering his second season as a Marlin, is expected to return as the Marlins' starting catcher in 2015.

Miami has until Monday at midnight to announce they have picked up the option. Mathis has proven to be a valuable and inexpensive backup, posting a .998 fielding percentage a season ago.

Miami has a talented group of young pitchers, and retaining Mathis maintains the continuity. He posted a .998 fielding percentage in 473 2/3 innings. The veteran threw out 16 runners and posted a caught-stealing percentage of .327.

While both Saltalamacchia and Mathis are likely to return, both are blocking the arrival of prospect J.T. Realmuto, who posted solid offensive numbers last season and saw time with the major league club on a pair of occasions. But the Marlins will likely be content giving Realmuto more time to develop.

Miami wants to upgrade several positions this offseason, but catcher won't likely be on the list.