Little Sarge is tired of being a fifth outfielder:
“I don’t expect to be back; it’s time to move on,” outfielder Gary Matthews, Jr. 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 . . . I just feel like it’s time for me to play for an organization that believes I can contribute every day, from day one.”
Even if Gary Matthews has had no business starting games in Anaheim these past few years — and he hasn’t — it’s still not hard to understand his frustration. Like Juan Pierre across town, (a) it’s not Matthews’ fault that his team gave him so much damn money — you wouldn’t have turned it down either; and (b) it’s not unsurprising that he thinks he can still play, even if people who aren’t Gary Matthews make a compelling case that he’s wrong about that. He’s a ballplayer and he wants to play ball. He doesn’t sound like he’s being too much of a crank here — he knows the Angels don’t want him and he’s not grousing about that — he just wants to do what his maker intended.
But the money is still obviously the problem here. He’s owed $23 million over the next two years, and no one is going to want to pay that for what Gary Matthews is capable of giving them. And of course, even if the Angels eat almost all of it — which they probably should — I’m not sure if an “organization that wants [Matthews] to play
every day” exists.
I think a lot of teams could use him as a fourth outfielder, though, and that would represent something of an upgrade for him. For the Angels, simply bidding adieu to a bad business decision may be rather satisfying as well, so look to see Matthews either dealt or released sometime soon.