Saturday, January 23, 2010

Diff'rent Year, Diff'rent Gary?

By now, you're probably aware that the Mets acquired Gary Matthews, Jr. from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yesterday for reliever Brian Stokes. Are you also aware that the Angels will be paying $21.5 million of the remaining $24 million left on Matthews' contract? The Mets will only be responsible for $2.5 million of Gary's salary.

Does this sound familiar to you? It should if you remember what the Mets did with another Gary before the 2009 season.

Just days before the curtain rose on the 2009 season, the Mets acquired Gary Sheffield from the Detroit Tigers, who had released him just three days earlier. The Tigers still owed him $14 million so the Mets were able to sign him for $400,000.

As a 39-year old with Detroit in 2008, Sheffield hit a career-low .225 in 418 at-bats. Despite being able to sign him for next to nothing, many so-called experts criticized the move, saying Sheffield was washed up and would be a cancer in the clubhouse.

Instead, due to various injuries suffered by 66.6% of the team (but I don't think that number has anything to do with it), Sheffield saw extended playing time. He raised his average from .225 in 2008 to .276. In only 268 at-bats (roughly half a season worth of ABs), he hit 10 HR (including his 500th career home run; see photo right) and collected 43 RBI. How's that for only 400,000 semolians?

So now we have another Gary on the team. The former Angel is expected to compete with the current Angel (Mr. Pagan) for the center field job while Carlos Beltran is recovering from his well-known top secret arthroscopic knee surgery.

Have you ever heard about those nameless executives and talent evaluators who always have something negative to say about players when asked for their opinions? Well, according to Buster Olney, one of them had this to say:

"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."

That's funny. If you substitute Sheffield's name for Matthews, wasn't that the same thing being said about the O.G. (Original Gary) last April?

For the Studious Metsimus readers who aren't feeling this trade, all I am saying is give Matthews a chance. Carlos Beltran should only miss a few weeks of the season. The Mets also have Angel Pagan who can play center field. A slump by Matthews will not destroy the team's chances to finish in fourth place (until the Mets get some starting pitching help, Studious Metsimus should not be confused with Optimist Metsimus).

The Mets' annual pre-season Gary of The Year acquisition hasn't hurt them yet. For the money the Mets are paying Gary Matthews, Jr., I don't feel the need to trash this trade (but I reserve the right to do so later). Now if the Mets were to announce the acquisition of Gary Coleman before the beginning of the 2011 season, it'll be time for all Mets fans to say "What you talkin' 'bout, Wilpon?"


DyHrdMET said...

I don't think Gary Coleman could scale the outfield wall at Citi Field.

Ed Leyro (and Joey) said...

He could be next year's top bench player. When the Mets need a walk-off walk, send him up to bat a la Eddie Gaedel, wait four pitches and voila!