SweetSpot: Brian Stokes

Mets pick up vital fifth outfielder

January, 22, 2010
1/22/10
3:19
PM ET
Hey, good news for the Angels! For three years of Gary Matthews Jr. and now Brian Stokes for a spell, they had to spend just $48 million! (Well, $48 million plus Brian Stokes' salary, but who's counting?)

It's all here in the deal that's sending Matthews and a great deal of cash to the Mets in exchange for Stokes. Which leaves Matthew Cerrone wondering ...
    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.

I don't understand, either.

Purely in terms of value, the Mets have given up something for nothing.

Brian Stokes is nobody's idea of a star, but he's cheap and he's got a 3.82 ERA in the National League.

Gary Matthews essentially forced Bill James to invent Loss Shares.

Yes, that's a joke. Bill started thinking about Loss Shares long before Matthews signed his $50 million contract with the Angels. But according to Wins Above Replacement, in the first three years of that five-year deal, Matthews has been worth negative $5.2 million.

Perhaps I was too kind. One might argue that the Mets just gave up something for less than nothing.*

* No, I don't enjoy writing such things. I hope that neither Matthews nor anyone related to Matthews nor anyone with the same last name as Matthews reads this. But I can't ignore the facts as I see them, however unflattering they might seem.

Yeah, I would rather have re-signed Jeremy Reed, who at least would have the virtue of a contract that roughly matched his playing time. This one's just a head-scratcher. But then, the Mets do lead the league in that category.

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