Industry Insight on Gary Matthews Jr.


Buster Olney had some “inside knowledge” to report on Gary Matthews, Jr.

Some of the highlights, for those who are not “Insiders”:

… one talent evaluator dug into his team’s scouting reports, wondering if maybe his general impression that Matthews was a player in decline was wrong.

The reports for his team were clear: Matthews is a player to be avoided. Slow bat. Declining range. And above all else, a player who wants to be a regular and will be an unhappy distraction in your clubhouse when he’s not in the lineup every day.

Said an executive with another team of the Mets’ efforts to acquire Matthews, which have been extensive, including the discussion of one possible four-team deal this winter: “Baffling.”

I asked a scout with a team not involved in this deal for his observations on Matthews’ play. His response:

“I still see Matthews as an expensive extra outfielder. … He should still be able to play center field while Beltran is out, but he hasn’t shown any sock since he was outed for receiving shipments of HGH a couple years ago. His bat has been dragging through the zone the last couple years. …”

To sum up the view of Matthews within the game: He can’t hit for average, can’t hit for power, his defense ranks statistically among the worst outfielders in the majors and, to top it off, rival scouts have been reporting that in recent years he has been a clubhouse negative.


But hey, good for the Mets for going against the tide, for thinking for themselves, for not allowing others to influence their decision, for boldly going where no one else was willing to go!

Because after all — everyone else could be wrong.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude January 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm
    If there’s one glimmer of hope that indicates Matthews could turn things around in NY, it’s looking at his 2nd half of 2009. .274 batting average with a .380 OBP. Walked 25 times opposed to 34 strikeouts. He still only hit 2 homers, and only stole 2 bases, but he did have 12 doubles and a slugging % of .401, which was better than his “desirable” alternatives, Jeremy Reed (.304 SLG) and Cory Sullivan (.382).

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m still very much anti-Gary Matthews. His defense is still in shambles compared to Reed/Sullivan, and even Pagan. His reputation is that, if he doesn’t get his way, he sulks and becomes a distraction. He’s also going to be 36, which is certainly on the downslope towards liability. And if history shows us anything, it’s not to get too excited over 2nd half stats. Take, for example, JJ Putz, who returned for Seattle in the 2nd half of 2008 and looked to be every bit of his former self, only then to come to NY and be discovered to be damaged goods. Same, very well, could apply to Matthews. In fact, the odds are in favor of him playing like a washed up bum with the Mets over returning to his steroid-era form.

    But for you eternal optimists with your rose-colored glasses out there, there is that small glimmer of hope.

  2. joejanish January 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm
    Thanks for sharing that glimmer of hope. At least there’s one bit of positivity.
  3. James K. January 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm
    That’s right Mets, way to stick it to The Man!
  4. joejanish January 24, 2010 at 12:04 am
    James K – c’mon man, you took the bait but that’s the best you can do? Blind us with some science or something! 😉
  5. gary s. January 24, 2010 at 12:12 am
    old, slow and a bad influence in the clubhouse..omar shoots and scores..a natural hat trick!!!
  6. isuzudude January 24, 2010 at 9:49 am
    To be fair, gary, the same was said when Omar signed Gary Sheffield last year, and Shef turned out to be a pretty good pickup. So, though I join you in comdemning the Matthews trade, we need to be reminded that the Mets have succeeded with the old, slow, and bad influence variety in the recent past, so there is a chance that Matthews can be a positive contributor in 2010, as well. However, there very well could have been cheaper, younger, and more friendly alternatives to Matthews this offseason, which is the angle I would use to criticize the Mets on.