UPDATE: A Reds source told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay late Thursday evening that the club has “zero” interest in Matthews Jr. Here is Fay’s tweet from moments ago:
Reds source on Gary
Matthews Jr.: Zero interest. Listed 5 OFs in camp he’d take over
7:48pm: According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Reds are interested in acquiring outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. if he fails to beat out Angel Pagan for the Mets’ month-long centerfield opening.
Matthews Jr. posted a lousy 697 OPS in 316 at-bats for the Angels last season and was shipped to New York this winter for reliever Brian Stokes. If he makes the Mets’ final squad, and trumps Pagan, he will man the centerfield position until Carlos Beltran (knee)
returns to the field in May. If not, Matthews should be able to find ample playing time in Cincinnati. We’ll have to play the waiting game until late March and see how this one plays out.
Matthews, who turns 36 this season, has hit just .248/.325/.383 since signing a five-year, $50 million contract with Anaheim in November of 2006, but perhaps he’ll fare well with a move back to the National League.