When the Angels handed Gary Matthews Jr. a five-year, $50MM contract prior to the 2007 season, the team figured it was getting an elite centerfielder that played Gold Glove defense and hit .300+ like he did in his final season in Texas. Instead, the Angels brought Torii Hunter on board just one season later, and Matthews has been a part-time player ever since.
With two years and $23MM left on his deal, Matthews wants out of Anaheim, according to Mike DiGiovanna of The LA Times.
"I don't expect to be back; it's time to move on," Matthews said as he packed his belongings in the team's Angel Stadium clubhouse today. "I'm ready to play for an organization that wants me to play every day. This organization has other plans, and that's OK."
As for the money, Sarge Jr. doesn't think it'll be much of a hurdle.
"It's definitely not as big as it was a year ago," Matthews said. "Obviously, there are some teams that can't afford it, but when I'm playing every day, I feel I can be a top-line center fielder, and that, I would think, is what a lot of teams want."
In three years with the Halos, the 35-year-old Matthews has hit .248/.325/.383, and he's gotten fewer and fewer plate appearances each year. The free agent pool is a little light on true centerfielders, but it's hard to imagine anyone giving up anything of value for Matthews without the Angels eating a huge chunk of his contract.