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Sarge for Stokes

Mark it down. January 22nd of 2010, the impossible has happened. Tony Reagins actually found a trading partner for Gary Matthews Jr! Obviously Omar Minaya couldn’t just sit back and let Dayton Moore sign Rick Ankiel and not react. No, surely The Contest trumps all and Minaya must have immediately begun searching out a way to put the hammer down on Moore. Of course; Matthews! Was Vernon Wells not available?

The above was the instant reaction for most people I saw as the news worked its way around the internet community. Taking a step back though, and much like yesterday’s Ankiel signing, I don’t think this is an awful deal for the Mets.

The details as currently reported says that the Angels are eating $21.5 million of the $23.5 million owed to Matthews over the next two years so the Mets are essentially getting Matthews on a 2-year, $2 million contract. In return, the Mets are shipping Brian Stokes back to Anaheim.

Now, Matthews Jr is awful. Do not assume I am defending him here, though he might get a minor tick better playing CF again. Stokes is not good either however. He struck out 45 and walked 38 last season and overall, he’s a below average 30-year-old reliever. He’s also coming off a decent season, ERA-wise and set to make about a half-million in 2010 and then enter arbitration.

End result? The Mets pay Matthews $1 million in 2010, expected to produce pretty much nothing. The Angels pay Stokes about $0.5 million in 2010, expected to produce pretty much nothing. The Mets certainly could have found a better player to be Carlos Beltran insurance, and so the wasted roster spot has some cost, but that would be based on how the Mets actually utilize Matthews rather than a variable of the trade itself. In terms of just this particular swap, I feel that its impact to both teams bottom line win and salary totals are close to a wash. It might be a pointless trade, but I don’t see either team getting the upper hand.