Unable to find regular playing time for Gary Matthews Jr., the Los Angeles Angels traded the outfielder to the New York Mets on Friday and agreed to pay $21.5 million as part of the deal.
Los Angeles received right-handed reliever Brian Stokes, a native Californian, in exchange for Matthews, who had slumped for three straight seasons since signing a $50 million, five-year contract.
“He voiced his frustration to us because of his desire to play every day,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
New York wanted another outfielder after Carlos Beltran had knee surgery last week. Beltran, sidelined for much of last season, is not expected back until May, and Matthews will compete with Angel Pagan to play center field while Beltran is on the disabled list.
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“I think it’s going to be open competition,” Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. “Nobody’s going to be given the job.”
Matthews is owed salaries of $11 million this year and $12 million in 2011, plus a $500,000 bonus for getting traded. The Mets will pay just $1 million per season, and the Angels will give New York money to cover the remainder of the salary plus the bonus, a person familiar with the details told The Associated Press.
Another busy day for Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies kept up their busy offseason Friday, finalizing a $22 million, three-year contract with All-Star center fielder Shane Victorino and reaching a preliminary agreement on a one-year deal with pitcher Jose Contreras.
Contreras’ contract is contingent on a physical, a person familiar with the negotiations said on condition of anonymity because the Phillies didn’t make an announcement.
Victorino’s deal, which calls for salaries of $5 million this year, $7.5 million in 2011 and $9.5 million in 2012, avoided a salary arbitration hearing next month.
Trainer: I gave McGwire steroids
A trainer who previously admitted supplying Jose Canseco with steroids now says he also gave performance enhancing-drugs to Mark McGwire.
Curtis Wenzlaff, arrested in 1992 for steroids distribution, told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that McGwire’s goal was to get “bigger, faster, stronger,” according to excerpts released Friday. The interview is to be broadcast Sunday morning.
As a top prospect for the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Grant Desme announced that he was leaving baseball to enter the priesthood, walking away after a breakout season in which he became MVP of the Arizona Fall League. … Rick Ankiel will try to boost his resurrected career in Kansas City’s crowded outfield. The former pitcher agreed to a $3.25 million, one-year contract with the Royals, a source said. … Former Seattle Mariners pitcher Joel Piñeiro and the Los Angeles Angels have finalized their $16 million, two-year contract. Piñeiro receives $8 million a season under the deal, which was agreed to Wednesday subject to a physical.