||Gary Matthews Jr
|Date of Birth
|Place of Birth
||San Francisco, California, U.S.
Gary Matthews Jr is a former outfielder who played Major League Baseball. Matthews is the son of Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. Matthews began his career with the San Diego Padres in 1999 and has also played for the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
He was traded by the Mets to the Orioles for John Bale on April 3, 2002. Up until 2006, Matthews was not a big figure in baseball, getting only 2,167 at bats over his first seven years (1999-2005). During that time, he hit 59 home runs, stole 54 bases, batted .249 and had a .397 slugging percentage after the end of the season; Matthews went public with his desire to be traded to another team in spite of having two years left on his contract. "I don't expect to be back; it's time to move on," Matthews said. "I'm ready to play for an organization that wants me to play every day. This organization has other plans, and that's OK." The OC Register's Sam Miller doubted Matthews could find a job with another team, comparing him to other aging player with similar attributes. While calling Matthews' contract the sixth biggest franchise-killer, SI.com said the trade outlook for Matthew was not good. "The Angels are reportedly shopping Matthews, but it's hard to imagine any takers unless L.A. eats most or all of his remaining salary." On January 22, 2010, Matthews was traded to the New York Mets for relief pitcher Brian Stokes. The Angels picked up $21.5 of the $23.5 million left on Matthews' contract.
The trade was met with widespread surprise. Buster Olney, writing for espn.com, wrote the Mets were "seeing something in him that other teams are not seeing." Quoting an anonymous talent evaluator for a major league team, "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," while another executive called the move 'baffling.' Fangraphs' Matthew Carruth called the trade "close to a wash" while Rob Neyer of ESPN.com said "One might argue that the Mets just gave up something for less than nothing." With regular center fielder Carlos Beltran out after having undergone surgery, Matthews was the starting center fielder for the Mets on opening day.