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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Angels Sign Gary "Sarge" Matthews, Jr.

The Angels have signed Gary Matthews, Jr. to a $50M/5-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal. There is simply no way to justify this absurd deal; if this is true, the stench of desperation has started to set in, and this contract will become an albatross immediately. A 32-year-old coming off a career year? Silly season has set in, and the Angels aren't about winning so much as placating the fan base.

Update: Additional reports coming from the Dallas Morning News and SportsTicker. BTF snark includes the hugely apt hed: "Rosenthal Claims Angels Give Up on Next Five Seasons":

Gary Matthews, Jr. is a 32-year-old outfielder with a career OPS+ of 96 and Equivalent Average of .258—over his career he has just been below average as a hitter.  Last year, his 119 OPS+ mark marked the first time he had ever exceeded 109, and only the third time he had exceeded 100 in his career.

Despite making highlight reels, Matthews’ defense last year rated mediocre or worse by both zone rating and PMR, not to mention by Davenport’s non-play-by-play defensive metric, for whatever that’s worth.

Per Rosenthal, Matthews, Jr. will be making $10M per from Arte Moreno through age 37.

Good God, and to think I used to have a good opinion of Bill Stoneman.

Update 2: Now on the Angels website, and the Los Angeles Times, which includes this howler:

"The bottom line is everybody's pleased with the deal," said Scott Leventhal, Matthews' agent. "The fact that Gary has Los Angeles roots, to be able to play for the Angels is an absolute dream come true. He couldn't be happier."
No, Mr. Leventhal, you crook, not everyone. Nobody asked me. Nobody asked them, or them. Rangers fans mock us openly, as do Mariners fans and A's fans, deservedly.

Update 3: Poster H. Vaughn at BTF observes that it's "Gotta be the best contract ever for a guy who got DFA'd THREE times: Cubs, Bucs, O's." Ouch. Also, the Chronicler says we are idiots definitely, forgetting that sportswriters should never use the first person plural when referring to the team, explicitly for cases exactly like this one.

Makes you wonder which fans they are "placating". Anyone who can read a stat sheet knows that this guy is coming off of a career year. Why doesn't Bill and his fellow lunch buddy Mikey realize this?
I agree that this deal is ridiculous, but have there been any reasonable deals this offseason? What should be done? Perhaps Stoneman is signing a few replacement parts for his trade bait for a big bat, i.e. Matthews for Figgins, Speier for Shields, Zito for Santana??? I don't think, or hope that Zito is realistic, just throwing out some crazy ideas. If this package nets a few minor upgrades, and Tejada to play third, then maybe the Angels will truly compete for a championship in '07.

Five years is certainly too many for a player that is 32 and coming off of a career year. I am not happy with the deal, but it is good to see that Stoneman is finally willing to overpay for something. I am not prepared to spend another year thinking that the Angels need another bat, but that they are justified in standing pat because nothing reasonable was available. Let's see what else is in store.
BTW, another minus, bye bye first round pick.
Actually, its worse, bye, bye 1st and 2nd round picks
The only positive about this deal is it means they pretty much have to get rid of Figgins and maybe, just maybe, they'll be able to get a real major league third baseman in a package that includes him.

Still there's no way to justify those numbers. None.
There is NOTHING good about this deal. The money isn't even an issue. The main issue here is that he's not very good.

Overpay yes, on a player that's worth overpaying. Vernon Wells, Andruw Jones, ARod. All guys worth overpaying.
This just makes no sense at all. The Angels had three in-house options who are all better, younger and cheaper than GMJjr., in Figgins, Willits and Murphy. Matthews isn't better than any of them at anything. They're all better hitters, fielders and baserunners.
Anyone know the details about GMJ's partial no-trade clause? I'd like to know that we can ship him out after next season, probably paying most of his contract, to open up CF for one of the GOOD CF coming on the market (Wells, Jones, Hunter).
BAD STONEMAN!!! BAD! BAD! BAD!!! I thought it before, but was almost afraid to say it. But no more: Stoneman has to go. He, along with Mike Scioscia, have absolutely no clue how to contruct a good offense. I am now convinced any good move made by Stoneman in the past was simply dumb luck. Did he learn NOTHING from the Finley fiasco? At least the 40 year old Finley had a track record of success. There is no positive spin to put on this. Ridiculous, short-sighted and down right laughable. Would JD Drew really be that bad? Considerable risk, of course, but far less risky with greater dividends then GMjr. Bad Stoneman!
Like everyone else I'm at a complete loss of words for this signing. What person in their right mind gives 50 million to Gary Matthews Jr. Did Artie Moreno force Stoneman into signing this guy? If not, then Stoneman is hands down one of the dumbest GMs in the game. Who the heck is running this organization? who is doing their scouting? do they watch the same baseball as everyone else?
50 mil for this guy? All of a sudden the Red Sox paying 51M for the signing rights doesn't seem so out of line. Funny that fellow Ranger Mark DeRosa got a mere crumb of a contract from the Cubs. Less years less money. I agree, an in house CF would have been a better cheaper solution than signing a career journeyman off a fluke year.
Terrible, terrible, terrible.

Incidentally, there are WAY too many damn people with variations on the name "Matt." It's time for some last names or nicknames, y'all.
I (who posted last) will try to change my handle to "mattwelch"; don't know why it ain't that already.
Why is Leventhal a "crook?"
Jeez, Rich, can you stop asking embarrassing questions?
Join us Matt, and one day we will rule the world!
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