In a move that has been rumored since spring training, the Reds signed outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. to a minor-league contract, the team announced on Thursday.
Matthews played 36 games for the Mets this season and hit an abysmal .190/.266/.241. While Matthews was being mentioned as a trade candidate for the Reds this spring, some inside the organization scoffed at the thought of Matthews making the big league squad.
Center fielder Drew Stubbs has struggled so far this season -- .231/.306/.382 -- but that's still better than Matthews, and Stubbs' defense is monumentally better at this point than the former Gold Glove-winning Matthews. The Reds also have another better option in Chris Heisey (.280/.368/.600 in 57 plate appearances), who is more natural at a corner outfield spot, but both of those are taken in Cincinnati with Jay Bruce and Jonny Gomes. Laynce Nix is the fifth outfielder.
Matthews fits only where he'll be -- at Triple-A Louisville. The Bats haven true center fielder. Michael Griffen and utility man Chris Burke have been manning the outfield for Rick Sweet. The team has little other outfield depth, using two other part-time infielders, Todd Frazier and Yonder Alonso, in the outfield, along with one-time prospect Wladimir Balentien.
Sure, the usual suspects will cry Dusty Baker and bring up Corey Patterson and Willy Taveras, and that could be an issue if Patterson were to make the roster, but that's not happening. There's no place for Matthews in Cincinnati and baring and injury, don't expect to see him there anytime soon.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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