Following an eight year period during which he was twice traded, twice claimed on waivers, and once outright released, Gary Matthews, Jr. had one good year for the Texas Rangers in 2006. As seems so often to be the case, that was a free agent year, and Matthews cashed in big-time, as the Angels gave this career wash-out a five-year, $50 Million contract.
Matthews rewarded the Angels by reverting to his career performance levels, averaging just under .250, 10 homers and 56 RBI for the three years he’s played in Anaheim, and played barely good enough to keep his starting spot for the first year only. Cutting their loses, the Angels have now traded Matthews to the NY Mets, for underachiever Brian Stokes (6-11, 5.02 over four seasons). That, folks, is the GOOD news. The Angels also agreed to pay the Mets $21.5 Million to pay all but $2 Mil of Matthews’ salary over the final two years of his contract.
Well, at least the Angels learned a lesson from all of this. Presumably that lesson is that it is not wise to hand over several million dollars to a journeyman player who has one solid year after several mediocre years. Right? WRONG!
The Angels have repeated the same mistake by signing the mediocre Joel Pineiro to a two-year, $16 Million contract, the same Pineiro who has bounced between three other teams, and before his decent 15-12 2009 season with St. Louis, had been 35-47 with an ERA over 5.00 from 2004 through 2008.
When Pineiro goes 6-13 this year, maybe then the Angels will actually learn something.