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Friday, January 22, 2010

Not 'Stoked' about Mets' deal for Gary Matthews Jr.

For the second straight year, the Mets have acquired an aging malcontent OF named Gary who has been linked to PEDs and whose former team was willing to eat eight figures in salary.

Last year, the Tigers still owed Gary Sheffield $14 million when they gave him the boot. This year, the Angels are reported to be eating $21 million of Gary Matthews Jr.'s contract. But they are also getting back reliever Brian Stokes.

Last season, Matthews had closed-door meetings with both manager Mike Scioscia and GM Tony Reagins over playing time and staged a one-day walkout in spring training. After the season, he asked to be traded. But Scioscia called Matthews a "terrific teammate" and said that calling Matthews a"disruptive influence or … unhappy in our clubhouse was 180 degrees" from the actual situation.

In February 2007, SI.com reported that in 2004, Matthews had been sent HGH. Matthews denied the allegations and MLB found that there was insufficient evidence to discipline him.

I was opposed to the Sheffield move at the time, but he ended up helping the Mets more than I expected. He was able to play the field and remain healthy enough to get 312 plate appearances, as well as not causing any clubhouse problems for much of the year. But by the end of the season, Sheffield was both disgruntled and injured.

At 35, Matthews is five years younger than Sheffield was last year. Matthews has also been an outfielder when he plays, unlike Sheffield, who had not played much outfield since 2005 when the Mets acquired him.

Unlike Sheffield, however, who has put up Hall of Fame numbers throughout his career, Matthews has had one good season. Last year, Matthews' numbers were not even as good as Sheffield's:

Matthews: PA 360; HR 4; RBI 50; BA .250; OBP .336; SLG .361; OPS .697

Sheffield: PA 268; HR 10; RBI 43; BA .276; OBP .372; SLG 451; OPS .823

In his 11-year career, Matthews has had an OPS over .800 only twice, both times playing in Texas' great hitting park. Now he gets to try his luck in Citi Field.

It is late January, and while the Mets did sign Jason Bay, the projected lineup might well include Matthews and Henry Blanco. And possibly Fernando Tatis in a first base platoon.

Meanwhile, the rotation after Johan Santana continues to be subpar. And the bullpen loses a potentially valuable arm. Not to mention that going into 2010, Stokes was one of the few Mets not coming off an injury.

Both Bengie Molina and Joel Pineiro had a lot of question marks, but acquiring one of them would had given at least some reason for hope in 2010. Instead, the Mets, who now seem to be a place where nobody wants to play, take on a player whose team was willing to eat $21 million to see him go.

9 comments:

guinness said...

There's always Ben Sheets! Well, if his arm doesn't fall off anyway...

AC Wayne said...

Looks like Minaya's at it again, patting himself on the back for picking up another of MLB's evil step-children in Matthews, Jr.

It's GM 1-0-1 for Minaya again as he's able to weasel an underachieving, self-centered, me-type ball player at a fraction of the price.

Wow! Looking at his numbers compared to Sheffield’s really puts things into perspective.

The one upside for Matthews, Jr: his dad has to root for the Mets. "Put ‘er there, Sarge!"

Jonmouk71 said...

Well, of course Scioscia is going to call Matthews a "great guy" - he doesn't, and not only do the Angels have to be pick up ALL of the contract, they probably have to pay someone more to take Gary off their hands. It reminds me of how Joe Torre would praise certain ballplayers to the press and then later in his books he would trash them mightily.

"Nutball Gazette" said...

This is what the Yankees did throughout the 80s and then they bottomed out in 1990, Anyway that the Wilpons can get thrown out of baseball? and is there a Gene Michael/Buck Showalter Combo in the Mets organization to rebuild them.

Anonymous said...

What is the problem? Matthews is going to cost 1 million a year. What, do we lament losing Brian Stokes? In the long run, who cares? this is a nothing move, meaning we have nothing to lose. He will be a 4/5th outfielder who also switch hits. He plays pretty good defense too.

Uncle Mike said...

Apparently, "Anonymous" is still stuck in 2006. For Matthews, as well as for Wright, Reyes and Beltran.

Anonymous said...

How does my comment keep me stuck in 2006?

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