News: Mets trade Brian Stokes for Gary Matthews Jr.

The Mets are acquiring Gary Matthews Jr. from the Angels, in exchange for RHP Brian Stokes, according to Jon Heyman at SI.com.

Heyman says the Angels will pay $21.5 million of the $24 million due to Matthews during the next two years, meaning he will cost the Mets roughly $1.25 million per season.

I believe this deal is what this deal is.

In other words, as of now, it doesn’t sound to me like there will be a corresponding move; and the Reds are not, nor is Luis Castillo, involved in this trade.

In talking with a team official, the Mets see Matthews Jr. as a back-up, or fall-back position, to Angel Pagan, who the Mets like very much and see as the favorite to win the starting center field job in the absence of Carlos Beltran, who will miss the start of the year recovering from knee surgery.

However, because Pagan has had a history with being injured, the team felt it necessary to bring in a proven, major-league center fielder, to compete in Spring Training, and, at the very least, act as a fourth outfielder for the first month or so of the season.

In the team’s view, the Mets could have signed a free-agent outfielder for, say, $2 million per season, or they could have traded for Matthews Jr., who will only cost them $1.25 million per season.  They apparently were not satisfied with the current crop of free-agent outfielders, and so they chose to make the trade instead.

To me, I don’t understand how that, plus giving up a pitcher, is better than, say, re-signing a guy like Jeremy Reed, who just signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays.

I mean, this is not to say I am disappointed or angry about getting Matthews Jr., because it’s only a fourth outfielder we’re talking about… in some ways, this move will probably prove to be very inconsequential.  It’s just, I don’t understand why they needed to trade a pitcher to do it.

Actually, I guess if I am disappointed, it’s because I assumed that any deal for Matthews Jr. would have involved Castillo, meaning the team could have turned around and signed Orlando Hudson.  But, that does not appear to be the case.

The last two seasons, Matthews hit around .245 with roughly six or so HR, 45 RBI and missed several games due to ankle, back and hamstring injuries.

He has been a center field throughout most of his career, also playing both corner outfield spots.