With Carlos Beltran a question mark coming off offseason knee surgery, the New York Mets have acquired Gary Matthews Jr. from the Angels in a trade to bolster their outfield depth, according to Sports Illustrated.
It was not immediately clear what the Mets would give up in return, although FoxSports' Jon Morosi later reported it would be pitcher Brian Stokes, which jived with ESPN's Jerry Crasnick report that it would most likely be a "'low-salaried' pitcher off the major league roster".
For the Angels, moving Matthews Jr. allows them to move on from one of the most expensive free agent mistakes in recent years -- albeit, at a high cost. SI's Jon Heyman reports that the Angels will pay $21.5 million of the $23.5 million left on Matthews Jr.'s current deal for the Mets. After signing Matthews Jr. off his career year for the Rangers in 2006 (highlighted by this splendiferous catch), he reverted to the mean, becoming more the fourth outfielder-type he'd been for most of his career. Indeed, per Baseball Prospectus, after posting a 50.9 VORP in 2006 in Texas, Matthews Jr. fell to 12.0 in 2007 and -5.4 in an injury-shortened 2008. Or, if you prefer more traditional stats, check out last season's numbers.
|2009 - Gary Matthews||103||316||44||79||19||2||4||50||40||74||4||1||.250||.336||.361|
With the Angels paying most of Matthews Jr.'s salary, the Mets can certainly more than afford to gamble that he can recapture some of his 2006 mojo, especially considering that they're not counting on him to be anything more than an insurance policy for Carlos Beltran. But still, Matthews Jr. has been one of the least valuable players in baseball the past few years. It's difficult to imagine they didn't have
some any better options in their farm system.