Gary Matthews Jr. wants out of Anaheim
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While three Angels headed for free agency -- Vladimir Guerrero, Bobby Abreu and Chone Figgins -- have expressed publicly a desire to return to Anaheim, one player who has two years remaining on his contract has no desire to return to the Angels in 2010.
‘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.’
Matthews signed a five-year, $50-million contract to be the Angels’ center fielder in 2007 but was derailed in the second half of that season by a knee injury. Matthews eventually had surgery on the knee last winter.
The Angels signed Torii Hunter to a five-year, $90-million deal to play center field before 2008, and by this season, Matthews was relegated to a fifth outfielder role, batting .250 in 103 games, with four homers and 50 runs batted in.
Matthews has $23 million remaining on his contract and a no-trade clause that will allow him to block deals to four clubs of his choosing. He requested a trade last March and again around the All-Star break and has had numerous discussions with General Manager Tony Reagins, who appears willing to accommodate Matthews’ request.
However, the Angels are expected to have to eat a significant portion of that $23 million in order to trade Matthews, 35. And though two outfielders ahead of him -- Guerrero and Abreu -- could leave via free agency, opening up a possible starting job, Matthews still wants out.
‘I just feel like it’s time for me to play for an organization that believes I can contribute every day, from day one,’ Matthews said.
As for his hefty contract, Matthews said he doesn’t expect it to be a deterrent.
‘It’s definitely not as big as it was a year ago,’ Matthews said. ‘Obviously, there are some teams that can’t afford it, but when I’m playing every day, I feel I can be a top-line center fielder, and that, I would think, is what a lot of teams want.’
-- Mike DiGiovanna