Gary Matthews Jr. opts out of his contract with the Reds


I’ll interrupt all this talk about the upcoming July 31 non-waiver trade deadline to bring you this moment of levity.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Gary Matthews Jr. has officially opted out of his contract with the Reds and is now a free agent.

Matthews, who signed a minor league contract with the Reds late last month, was hitting .317/.361/.495 with three home runs and six RBI over his first 101 at-bats with Triple-A Louisville. The Reds had until today to bring him up to the big leagues and chose not to do so.

According to what Matthews’ agent Scott Levanthal told Mark Sheldon of, his client will seek a major league contract.

“We’re not going to play Triple-A anywhere else,” Leventhal said. “He
has nothing left to prove. He’s a 10-year veteran that spent the last 30
days in Louisville and putting up good numbers.”

The 35-year-old outfielder batted .190/.266/.241 with three extra-base hits and one RBI in 58 at-bats before being released by the Mets on June 15 and has performed below replacement level since 2007. He might be waiting a while for his next gig.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.