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Good luck with that: Angels 'working hard' to deal Gary Matthews Jr.

Dec 4, 2009, 3:25 PM EDT

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that “the Angels are working hard to trade Gary Matthews Jr.” Of course, if the Angels could have traded Matthews without eating a significant portion of his remaining contract they would have done so long ago.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports recently ranked Matthews’ five-year, $50 million deal as the eighth-worst contract handed out this decade, and the Angels still owe him $23 million over the next two seasons. How much of that money would they have to eat in order to find a taker for the 35-year-old Matthews?
In an effort to answer that question Sam Miller of the Orange County Register wondered what type of contract Matthews would get on the open market right now, because if you subtract that hypothetical amount from $23 million that’s basically how much the Angels would need to chalk up as a sunk cost.
Naturally, agent Scott Leventhal is in full-on spin mode when it comes to Matthews’ current value:

Gary wants to play every day, and he wants to play center field. He’s still got an amazing amount of talent. The Angels have been notified [of Matthews' desire for a trade] on a number of occasions. It’s just a matter of whether something can be done.

When agents say things like that, do they realize how ridiculous they sound and how much credibility they lose? Matthews is 35 years old and has gone from overrated to just plain bad defensively while hitting .248/.325/.383 in three seasons with the Angels, including .250/.336/.361 this year. Yet according to Leventhal “he’s still got an amazing amount of talent” and wants to be an everyday center fielder. In related news, my mom thinks I’m still the handsomest boy in the neighborhood and I want to marry Mila Kunis.
Step away from those equally implausible fantasy worlds and Matthews is basically a run-of-the-mill backup outfielder at this point, which would maybe get him a one-year deal for something like $2 million on the open market. If he’s lucky. In other words, for the Angels to find a taker for him they’d likely have to eat upwards of $20 million, which definitely qualifies as “working hard.”

  1. James - Dec 4, 2009 at 4:20 PM

    Is it possible for Gary Matthews, Jr. to restructure his deal or is that against some sort of agreement?

  2. Grant - Dec 4, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    No way the union ever lets a guy leave money on the table. Remember when A-Rod tried? He ended up a Yankee instead of a Red Sox.

  3. RobRob - Dec 4, 2009 at 10:04 PM

    Why would anyone pay Gary Matthews, Jr. $3M to do anything? Every team in the major leagues has a AAA team who can hit an empty .250. Why pay someone $3M when you can pay someone else $500K?

  4. Cru11 - Dec 5, 2009 at 1:03 AM

    Gary Matthews Jr. is the smartest man in baseball. Have a FLUKE breakout year and hit over .300 and get some moron to sign him to 10m/yr contract while he hits .248 and averages 10 homeruns a year after he inked his name. Brilliant!

  5. VA_Friar - Dec 5, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    I think the “fantasy worlds” tag appended to this post is the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile.

  6. CC - Dec 5, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    True, true, but don’t get to worked up about it. All indications suggest this years free agent signings will be even worse than past screw-ups. Some of those players on the “Worst Ever Free Agent Signings List” will get to move down. You think that was a bad signing, you ain’t seen nothin yet.

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