Gary Matthews Jr. Rumors

Four Team Salary Dump Trade Fell Through

Well here's an interesting deal that never came to be. According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, a four-team trade involving Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Luis Castillo, and Gary Matthews Jr. fell apart at the winter meetings for an undisclosed reason.

According to a source, the deal would have sent Bradley to the Rays, Burrell and Castillo to the Cubs, and Matthews Jr. to the Mets. Burrell would have then been spun off elsewhere. No word on what the Halos would have received, though getting rid of Sarge Jr. and presumably at least part of his contract would have been a win.

Odds & Ends: Cubs, Vazquez, Matthews

Some links for Friday…

Stark On Halladay, Bradley, Lackey, Gonzalez

The Blue Jays are still demanding nearly as much for Roy Halladay as they were this summer, according to's Jayson Stark. The Angels, Phillies and Yankees appear to be "the only realistic destinations" for Halladay at this point. The Angels would apparently want Halladay to sign an extension if they traded for him, but the Jays don't appear to be close to dealing their ace away. Here are the rest of Stark's rumors:

  • One GM would be shocked if the Angels don't sign Jason Bay or John Lackey. The Angels haven't shown any indications that they're ready to offer Lackey A.J. Burnett money ($82.5MM).
  • The Yankees are focused on adding a free agent starter and determining whether Johnny Damon will return.
  • If the Cubs and Rays can figure out the money, Milton Bradley could still end up in Tampa Bay.
  • The Red Sox will have a hole at first or third if and when the Mike Lowell deal goes through, but you can count out Adrian Gonzalez. Stark says the Padres just have no motivation to move the hometown slugger.
  • The Red Sox are "clearly infatuated with" Adrian Beltre.
  • Dan Uggla, Francisco Cordero, Luis Castillo, Lyle Overbay, Kerry Wood, Kyle Farnsworth, Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre, Jose Guillen and Eric Byrnes were all being shopped this week.
  • Stark notes that the market for starting pitchers hasn't been bad so far, pointing to Randy Wolf and Andy Pettitte as examples.

Angels Getting Interest In Matthews Jr.?

According to a tweet from Yahoo's Tim Brown this morning, the Angels are getting enough interest in Gary Matthews Jr. to believe that it's possible they get a deal done to move his salary off the books.

Matthews, 35, has two years and $23.5MM remaining on the five-year, $50MM he signed with the Angels back in 2006 (he gets a $500K bonus if traded). He's been a disappointment since coming to the Angels, and has been thought to be virtually immovable in years past.

However, we've seen several teams as of late looking to exchange bad contracts in an effort to free payroll or address other needs. Some that have been mentioned as of late include Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Derek Lowe, Luis Castillo, and Juan PierreA few days ago Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports noted that the Angels were working hard to trade Matthews to clear payroll, so taking back a bad contract might not fulfill that goal.

If the Angels are getting genuine interest in someone taking on Matthews Jr.'s contract, who are some possible fits, and what pieces do you see going back to the Angels?

Angels “Working Hard” To Trade Gary Matthews Jr.

The Angels are "working hard to trade Gary Matthews Jr. to clear money for other pursuits," according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  With Matthews owed $23.5MM over the next two years if traded, it will be difficult for GM Tony Reagins to unload a significant portion of the contract.

Matthews, 35, hit .250/.336/.361 in 360 plate appearances for the Angels this year, playing all three outfield positions. Between the contract, Matthews' loss of power, and his questionable defense, he has strong negative value.  Without the contract, what would Matthews fetch on the free agent market?  Maybe one year, $1-2MM?

If the Angels hope to trade Matthews to free up money, it would make sense to pair him with a more desirable player.  Kind of like what the Cubs did with Aaron Miles and Jake Fox yesterday, but on a grander scale.

Los Angeles Rumors: Halladay, Matthews, Pierre

Mike DiGiovanna and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times pass on a few interesting notes related to the Dodgers and Angels. Here are the highlights:

  • If the Angels were to make a run at Roy Halladay, it would cost them at least one big-league arm from the Joe Saunders/Jered Weaver/Ervin Santana group, which could help offset Halladay's 2010 salary.
  • Angels' owner Arte Moreno has said in the past that he's willing to bump the club's payroll a little for a potential franchise player. This could give the team some financial maneuverability if they tried to trade for Halladay or sign a free agent like Jason Bay.
  • The Dodgers don't want to give up any major league pitching to acquire Halladay, making them an unlikely trading partner for the Jays.
  • Both the Dodgers and Angels have a handful of salaries coming off their books, but will owe plenty of players raises through arbitration, restricting their ability to make much impact in free agency.
  • The Angels will look into dealing Gary Matthews Jr., but would probably have to eat too much of his salary to make a trade worthwhile.
  • The Dodgers have their own outfielder with an oversized contract: Juan Pierre. The team might try to trade Pierre for an equally overpriced back-of-the-rotation pitcher.
  • If the Angels were to retain one of their big free agents (John Lackey, Chone Figgins), they could attempt to backload the contract, helping themselves out financially in the short term.

Angels Notes: Guerrero, Lackey, Oliver's Lyle Spencer answered a pile of fans' questions about the Angels' free agents, possible new signings and trade options.  Here are some of the highlights…

  • Spencer "has his doubts" that Los Angeles will re-sign any of its big three free agents (Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey).  He thinks the other three AL West teams would be smart to sign Guerrero given that the outfielder is "a prideful man who would have something to prove to his former employer." 
  • If the Angels do dip into the free-agent market, it would be for a starting pitcher.  Spencer lists Randy Wolf and former Angel Jon Garland as possible targets, and also says the Halos could wait until midseason to pick up another arm a la their trade for Scott Kazmir last season.
  • The Angels would "love to keep" free agent reliever Darren Oliver.  Spencer thinks Oliver's Type A status will give L.A. the edge in re-signing him since other teams won't want to give up a first-round draft pick for a 38-year-old setup man.
  • Spencer would re-sign Kelvim Escobar to "an incentives-laden contract" because he thinks the right-hander could have a big season if healthy.
  • Utilityman Robb Quinlan will likely not be back in Anaheim, and seems to be a better fit in the National League.
  • Spencer shoots down two suggested trades that would send Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, respectively, to Los Angeles.  He doesn't think San Diego will move Gonzalez for attendance reasons, and thinks Tampa Bay might ask for too much in return for Crawford.
  • However, a fan-suggested trade of Brandon Wood for Jeremy Guthrie might be mutually beneficial for both the Halos and Orioles.  Spencer also calls a proposed Milton Bradley-for-Gary Matthews Jr. swap "an intriguing suggestion," but notes that Matthews still provides more benefit to Los Angeles than Bradley would.

Mets Notes: Adrian Gonzalez, Marquis, DeRosa

The incomparable Marty Noble answers many of the fan inquiries with his usual mixture of information and wit. Among other ideas, he considers:

  • Just what would it take, hypothetically, to bring Adrian Gonzalez to Queens? Noble believes a package of John Maine, Fernando Martinez and Ike Davis "and perhaps more would be one to consider seriously."
  • Noble likes Joel Pineiro more than Jason Marquis, adding that "I know the Mets are interested in [Bengie] Molina."
  • He says that while Mark DeRosa wouldn't be a top priority, "If they can't bring back Alex Cora, DeRosa would an even better fit."
  • He counters a fan's proposal to trade "Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Omir Santos to the Angels for Erick Aybar, Gary Matthews Jr., Ervin Santana and Jeff Mathis" with one of his own: "How about Perez for the rights to Albie Pearson?" Pearson was the 1958 AL Rookie of the Year, of course.

As usual, Noble is must-reading.

Olney On Potential Non-Tenders And Bradley

In today's blog post at, Buster Olney indicates that there is belief among general managers that the "financial restructuring that has been occurring across the landscape is about to hit the arbitration-level players like a tidal wave." He mentions underperforming, but well paid players like Garrett Atkins and Kelly Johnson are prime non-tender bait, especially since their clubs have replacements ready and it's unlikely they'll be able to trade them. Make sure you check out MLBTR's list of non-tender candidates.

Olney also talks about some bad contracts the Cubs could acquire in exchange for Milton Bradley, adding that this morning's Vernon Wells rumor "would be a stunner" if it happened. Some of the players he mentions as possible fits include Carlos Silva, Derek Lowe, Gary Matthews Jr. (who said he wants out of Anaheim), Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, Oliver Perez, and Dontrelle Willis, among others. Any other ideas?

Odds & Ends: DeRosa, Mateo, Mets, Cubs

A few links to click through before the Phillies and Yankees do battle in Game 1 of the World Series…