Tag: gary matthews

Reds Trade Willy Taveras

willy-taverasThe Reds have sent centerfielder Willy Taveras and infielder Adam Rosales to the Athletics for utilityman Aaron Miles and a PTBNL.

This trade has perked up the ears of some Mets fans and pundits, who are now wondering if it signals an opportunity for the Mets to trade Angel Pagan and a bag of balls to Cincy for Brandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, and perhaps even Joey Votto.

Such as it goes in that solar system where the planets revolve around Flushing.

In reality, I doubt highly that Taveras’ exodus to Oakland has anything to do with another deal for the supposedly cash-strapped Reds and everything to do with shedding some salary while making room for rookie Drew Stubbs.

The only place where the Mets come into the conversation is to ask why they traded Brian Stokes for Gary Matthews, Jr. if Taveras was available?


Art Shamsky Rekindled

Art Shamsky has re-launched his offical website, and it’s looking good. Nice to see the internet can properly rekindle Mets history, since the Mets themselves are incapable. Be sure to check it out and “eduMETcate” yourself.

James K at Amazin Avenue likes the idea of Fernando Tatis returning to the Mets. I disagree, and you will read my argument later today.

Andrew Vazzano has posted a poll at TheRopolitans asking who you believe will be the Opening Day centerfielder. Carlos Beltran is not one of the options.

Finally, watch Kerel Cooper’s take on the Gary Matthews trade:


Mets Trade Brian Stokes for Gary Matthews, Jr.

It appears to be a done deal: Jon Heyman has reported on SI.com that the Mets have sent Brian Stokes to the Angels for outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr.

The Mets will be responsible for paying only $2M of the remaining $23M+ left on Little Sarge’s contract.

And this makes sense how?

I know, I know … a few days ago I pointed out the Mets were desperate for a backup outfielder with the ability to play centerfield. But why pay $2M and give up a healthy arm for an aging outfielder with declining skills when you could have easily re-signed either Cory Sullivan or Jeremy Reed to a minor league deal worth less than $1M?

The logic, I suppose, is that Matthews could possibly return to the form that posted 19 HR, .313 AVG, and Gold Glove-like fielding in 2006. Unfortunately, Rudy Jaramillo is not the Mets’ batting coach, the Mets are not moving to the Ballpark at Arlington, and PEDs are still banned in MLB.

Matthews is 35 years old, turning 36 in August. His skills declined so quickly after signing with the Angels that they put his $55M contract on the bench. That didn’t set well with him, and he was so unhappy with the situation, and so affected the Angels clubhouse, that the Angels were willing to eat $22M to make him go away.

Remember now, the Angels were perennial postseason participants. Do you think Matthews is going to be thrilled to be riding the bench for the struggling Mets?

Further, the Mets now have to commit another spot on the 25-man roster to an aging, injury-prone veteran with a guaranteed contract. This small detail is a big deal when a team carries 12 pitchers, and thus has room for only 4 non-catching bench players. Half of those precious spots are now cemented with Matthews and Alex Cora. Not a flexible situation, is it?

Yes, if things don’t work out with Matthews they could simply release him. Another $2M down the drain. Not much on its own, but a few million here, a few million there, eventually adds up.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Perhaps Little Sarge will magically rediscover the athleticism of his (enhanced) youth, transform into an unselfish, team-first ballplayer, and lead the Mets to the playoffs with an All-Star season.

Anything is possible, after all.


Gary Matthews Jr. Returning to Flushing?

Jon Heyman says the Mets are on the verge of acquiring Gary Matthews, Jr. from the Angels, with the Angels paying the majority of the $23M left on his ridiculous contract.

No official word on who is going the other way, but Heyman mentions that the Angels have shown interest in Brian Stokes.

Let’s wait until the whole story is published before we react. Though, my initial gut reaction is that there’s no way this can turn out well for the Mets.

Some of you may recall Matthews’ two-game tenure with the Mets in 2002. That team was, in some ways, eerily similar to the 2010 version.


Centerfield Options

As we all know, Carlos Beltran has underwent knee surgery and is expected to be out for 12 weeks. No one is sure if “12 weeks” refers to the time before he can walk, run, or play ball. No one has made clear that it is “at least 12 weeks” or “a minimum of 12 weeks”. The recent history of communications from the Mets in regard to player injuries, though, tells us that the “12 weeks” means little or nothing.

That said, we’ll pretend that Carlos Beltran will NOT be in uniform, in centerfield, in April, and possibly not until May (which, in Metspeak, means, he most likely will be back in the lineup sometime in August).

Who will play centerfield for the Mets while we wait for Beltran’s return? Here are some of the possibilities.

Free Agents

Rick Ankiel
The best free-agent centerfielder still available on the open market. He has no desire to play in NYC, and is coming off an injury-riddled season in which he hit .231.

Alfredo Amezaga
The second-best free-agent centerfielder still available. Hits from both sides of the plate, has good speed, and can play every position on the diamond except catcher. He hit .217 last year and turned 32 a few days ago. In his prime years (27-29) he was a semi-regular super utlityman who hit in the .260s with no power.

Endy Chavez
Endy is coming off major knee surgery that ended his 2009 season. He turns 32 in a few weeks. His age and his surgery likely will affect his once excellent range. Neither issue should affect the fact he has no power, no plate discipline, and is a streak hitter.

Johnny Damon
There was a time that Damon was adequate in centerfield. That time has long past. Comically enough, there have been some pundits who suggest signing Damon for left field and shifting Jason Bay to center — many of the same pundits who previously insisted that Jason Bay’s defensive skills in left field would nullify his offensive production and ultimately doom the Mets.

Cory Sullivan / Jeremy Reed
Either of these choices would provide stellar defense, solid fundamentals, hustle, and good baserunning but only limited offensive production. The cost would be very affordable — likely under $1M.

Reed Johnson
This name is being bandied about more than Sullivan/Reed and I don’t understand why — Reed Johnson is essentially the righthanded, more expensive version of those two. I guess it’s a matter of people preferring change for the sake of change.

Rocco Baldelli
Is he healthy? Can he play every day? Does he want to play in NYC? If the answer is “yes” to all three it’s a no-brainer. But we don’t know the answers.

Randy Winn
Winn has been coveted by the Mets for several years, as his name comes up in rumors every July. He hasn’t been an everyday centerfielder since 2004 because his range is limited. He might be an OK stopgap, providing solid if unspectacular all-around performance. Certainly he is a well-rounded, fundamentally sound ballplayer with extensive experience and has a good rep off the field / in the clubhouse.

Jerry Hairston, Jr.
This name has been suggested by various sources recently. Why, I have no idea. Hairston is essentially an older, more versatile, but otherwise less-talented version of Reed Johnson. His main value is the ability to stand in several different positions on the diamond, but, at none is he particularly stellar — centerfield included. In any case, it appears he’s about to sign with the Padres.

Eric Byrnes

The price tag should be cheap, and if he’s healthy, he might be an OK option — if he’ll sign an MLB-minimum contract. The Crashtest Dummy last played CF regularly in 2006, and no one knows for sure if he’s healthy enough to walk out to center, much less play it.

Gerald “Ice” Williams
I’m kidding.

Trade Candidates

Gary Matthews, Jr.
The Angels are dying to rid themselves of Matthews and his contract — and will probably pay some or all of his salary to make him go away. He hasn’t performed anywhere close to his “enhanced” career year with the Rangers in 2006, and is now 35 years old.

Ryan Spilborghs

The rumor mill was rife with Spilborghs’ name earlier in the winter, and he remains an extra outfielder on the Rockies’ depth chart. The Beaneheads love him for his OBP, and he can cover centerfield adequately enough to be a worthwhile stopgap. But at what cost, and is he any better than Angel Pagan?

In-house Possibilities

Angel Pagan
The most likely and most sensible solution is Angel Pagan. He has the physical (if not mental) skills to handle center field more than adequately, and showed in 2009 that he can be an offensive force in spurts.

Fernando Martinez

Do we really want to watch him be overmatched in MLB when he should be further developing his skills, confidence, and ability to stay on the field in the minors?

Jason Bay / Jeff Francoeur
Even if either of these players was capable of handling centerfield for more than a week, it would still create a hole in one of the corners. Not plausible.


I think we know the way the Mets will go — they’ll plug in Angel Pagan and hope for the best. And looking at the alternatives, it’s not a bad plan. Though, I’d prefer they also back him up with a solid, cheap defender such as Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan, AND have a “Plan B” in place — Randy Winn would appear to be the most logical choice in terms of availability and cost. Winn can fill in as a late-inning defender in center and left, and be a veteran bat off the bench — he can just as easily play every day, and/or split time in a platoon situation. Maybe if Ankiel were more interested in playing in New York I’d think differently, but that plus his history suggests he isn’t “built” to play in a big market.

What do you think?