Thursday, May 17, 2007

Angels new center fielder hasn't disappointed.
Eric Denton

There was a lot of hand wringing about the 5 year $50 million dollar contract the Angels awarded to Gary Matthews Jr. in December. Was he just a journey-man who had a fluke year, or was he a late bloomer who just needed playing time to blossom ?

So far those worries have been laid to rest as Matthews has done exactly what the Angels had hoped for. Playing a great defensive center field and adding a much needed threat to the lineup. Matthews has produced from both the lead off position and now as the 3rd place hitter or clean up batter.

Second on the team with an .834 OPS, Matthews has filled the role of run producer the injured Garret Anderson has vacated. Since being moved down in the lineup Matthews has pounded out four home-runs and 13 RBI.

Matthews production will give manager Mike Scioscia the tools to strengthen the middle of the line up when Anderson and Howie Kendrick return from injury.

1. Reggie Willits LF
2. Orlando Cabrera SS
3. Vladimir Guerrero RF
4. Gary Matthews CF
5. Howie Kendrick 2B
6. Garret Anderson DH
7. Casey Kotchman 1B
8. Mike Napoli C
9. Chone Figgins 3B

Assuming Napoli, Kotchman and Figgins heat up this could be a productive lineup, thanks to the productivity and versatility of Gary Matthews.

While the future is uncertain and his contract may come back to hurt the Halos in his 4th or 5th year. For now, this signing is a success. I would expect a productive Matthews in Angels outfield for at least another two seasons before a decline could set in.
Love to hear what you think!


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