I was down in Philadelphia when the news hit. "Did you hear? Sarge's kid is going to New York." I thought it was a joke; another laugh at the token Mets fan in enemy territory. Had Omar lost his mind? He couldn't seriously believe that Gary Matthews Jr. could be a solution to the problem in center, right? If he did believe that, did he at least get rid of Castillo? Please, someone tell me that this is some sort of joke. There's no way that GMJ will be in center.
My first reaction to the Gary Matthews Jr. trade is unprintable.
Gary Matthews Jr. has without a doubt one of the worst contracts in baseball. It's nice that the Angels were kind enough to eat almost all of his contract so the Mets will only be paying him $2 million over the next two years but even that is too much. GMJ is awful. He is completely useless. Other words out of the thesaurus to describe his play: abominable, appalling, atrocious, deplorable, depressing, disgusting, distressing, dreadful, and I only went up to "d."
To be fair, the Mets didn't give up anything of value. Brian Stokes is a 30 year old righty reliever who is a below replacement level player. His 2009 numbers of a 5.06 xFIP and -0.2 WAR will not be missed. There is no sign that he will ever become a positive WAR player so there shouldn't be any sleep lost about what the Mets gave up.
On the other hand, the Mets traded for a below replacement level player who actually almost cost the Angels one win according to WAR. He is an inadequate stopgap or backup for Angel Pagan considering his absurdly awful -37.8 UZR/150 in center this year. His .691 OPS is so awful that it's almost unbelievable that the Mets couldn't have found someone else in free agency with production better than that.
Under normal circumstances, there really would be no issue with a trade like this. It was a garbage trade of two garbage players who probably won't have much of an impact on this season. The problem with this move is that there was no reason for the Mets to trade make the trade. It was a really dumb move just because there are other options available who could play better than GMJ.
It really seems like Minaya doesn't understand the free agent or trading markets. He has the panache for making the big signing or trade but fails horribly when he has to micromanage the organization. There is organizational filler who honestly could produce at a slightly level than GMJ without giving anything up. The trade just doesn't make any sense. I'm at a loss to understand or explain what the purpose of this move was considering how bad the players involved are.
I guess part of the trade could be to recapture some of that magic last year with Gary Sheffield who actually did okay considering the Mets were paying him nothing. It's possible that the GMJ trade is another reclamation project but even that doesn't make much sense considering even at his best GMJ was a 4.2 WAR player in a hitters park in Arlington.
I feel like I've been saying this a lot recently but if he can recapture some of his talent he could have a good impact on the team. Like Jeff Francoeur. Like Daniel Murphy. Like half a team that doesn't need more awful players who could have an impact -- the Mets need players who will make an impact.