Gary Matthews Jr. Rumors

Dead Money: Paying Players To Play Elsewhere

Eating money in trades or by releasing players is far from an ideal business practice, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. The Mets believe they are better off paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo a combined $18MM not to be on their team this year, and released the two just last month. David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the concept of "dead money" today, speaking to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports economist J.C. Bradbury, and Scott Boras.

With some help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, let's look at the teams that are paying players to be anywhere but on their roster this season…

This doesn't include money the Braves owe Kenshin Kawakami ($7.4MM) or the Yankees owe Kei Igawa ($4MM). Both Japanese imports remain in the organization, but they've since been banished to the minor leagues. It also doesn't include all the money the Mets famously owe Bobby Bonilla for the next two decades.

Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player collecting paychecks from three different big league teams at the moment, but Carlos Silva could join him if he's called up by the Yankees. Gary Matthews Jr. could also be in that mix if he catches on somewhere this summer.

Phillies Considering Gary Matthews Jr.

The Phillies are considering signing Gary Matthews Jr. to a minor league deal, according to Jim Salisbury of The 36-year-old would only cost the major league minimum, as the Angels and Mets are responsible for most of his $12MM salary.

The Angels traded Matthews to the Mets before the 2010 season and he struggled in New York, hitting just .190/.266/.241 in 65 plate appearances, so the Mets released him. The Reds signed him as a free agent and assigned him to Triple-A, where he hit .317/.361/.495 in 108 plate appearances.

Matthews' father is a former Phillies outfielder who is now one of the Phillies' broadcasters.

Brown On Red Sox, Reynolds, Beckham

Agent Scott Boras tells Yahoo’s Tim Brown that the changes to the offseason schedule mean he’s fielding offers for his clients earlier than usual. Here are the rest of Brown’s rumors:

  • The Astros appear to be close to re-signing Geoff Blum.
  • The Red Sox will determine how available Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder are before they start serious negotiations with top free agents. It sounds like the Padres and Brewers will at least listen to offers for their respective first basemen.
  • The D’Backs are “shopping” Mark Reynolds and looking for relievers and contact hitters.
  • Rival teams believe the White Sox will listen to offers for Gordon Beckham.
  • Gary Matthews Jr. hopes to continue playing, according to Brown.


Tigers Will Pass On Matthews, Others

The Tigers aren’t interested in Gary Matthews Jr., according to’s Jason Beck. The team recently lost Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge and Magglio Ordonez to the disabled list, but GM Dave Dombrowski won't pursue Matthews, who opted out of his deal with the Reds after hitting .313/.359/.490 at Triple A Louisville. 

Free agents like Jermaine Dye are available, in theory, but Dombrowski told reporters that he doesn’t have interest in waiting for an idle hitter to prepare to face MLB pitching. Dombrowksi could attempt to acquire a player via trade, but’s Jerry Crasnick hears that the team will not trade for an impact bat, since the lineup has so many holes (Twitter link).

The Tigers are just three games out of the AL Central lead, but their lineup is unquestionably thin. Will Rhymes, Don Kelly and Danny Worth all started last night, but that trio and the rest of the Tigers went hitless against Matt Garza.

Gary Matthews Jr. Exercises Out Clause

SATURDAY: Matthews has opted out of his deal, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

FRIDAY: Matthews intends to exercise his out clause tomorrow, tweets Jayson Stark of The 36-year-old is hoping to land a major league job after hitting .313/.359/.490 at Triple-A Louisville.

TUESDAY: The Reds could lose Gary Matthews Jr. to free agency if they don't call him up by July 24th, according to's Jerry Crasnick. Matthews has an out clause that will enable him to opt out of the deal he signed with the Reds if he isn't in the majors.

Matthews, 36 in August, has hit well at Triple-A Louisville, but the Reds already have Jay Bruce, Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs, Laynce Nix and Chris Heisey on their active roster. In 93 minor league plate appearances, Matthews has posted a .310/.355/.494 line, but has not posted an OPS above .700 in the majors since 2007. 

Odds & Ends: Bumgarner, Tracy, Oswalt, Atkins

Links for Friday night, as Edwin Jackson tosses a 149-pitch no-hitter against his former team….

Reds Sign Gary Matthews Jr.

The Reds officially signed Gary Matthews Jr. to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple A Louisville. The team confirmed the deal (via Twitter) three days after Yahoo's Tim Brown first reported it (via Twitter). The agreement comes less than a week after Matthews was released by the Mets.

The 35-year-old had over a year and a half left on a five-year, $50MM contract at the time of his release, but most of that money will be paid by the Angels and Mets. The Reds will only owe Matthews the pro-rated portion of the major league minimum if he reaches the big leagues this year.

After the Angels dealt him to the Mets this winter, Matthews struggled in 65 plate appearances with the club, hitting .190/.266/.241. The Reds must see something in the outfielder they like though. They reportedly had interest in Matthews this spring, when he was still a Met.

Odds & Ends: Sheets, Matthews Jr., Cubs, Red Sox

A few more links for Monday night….

  • A scout tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) that he didn't know of any teams scouting Ben Sheets this past weekend.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets that there's no risk to the Reds signing Gary Matthews Jr., but that he still wouldn't do it.
  • Jack Moore of Fangraphs explains how he thinks the Cubs should approach the trading deadline.
  • The Red Sox will have the financial flexibility to make a move or two this summer in part because of their abundance of homegrown pitching talent, according to's Peter Gammons.
  • Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies may need to acquire an arm for the back of their bullpen.
  • With July 31st fast approaching,'s beat writers are fielding a slew of questions about possible trades. Check out mailbags from Anthony Castrovince (Indians), T.R. Sullivan (Rangers), Joe Frisaro (Marlins), and Chris Haft (Giants) for their thoughts on the trade market.

Mets Release Gary Matthews Jr.

The Mets have released Gary Matthews Jr., according to Adam Rubin of (via Twitter). The Mets designated the outfielder for assignment earlier in the month and requested release waivers for Matthews over the weekend. The 35-year-old now joins the likes of Rocco Baldelli and Jermaine Dye on our list of free agent outfielders.

Unlike Baldelli, Dye and a number of other free agent outfielders, Matthews has been playing in the major leagues this year. However, his numbers are not good. He posted a .190/.266/.241 line in 65 plate appearances for the Mets. It's not much to draw conclusions from, but Matthews has not hit or defended well in recent years.

Odds & Ends: Bell, Giants, Lowell, Maine, Indians

Sunday linkage..