Report: Angels sign free agent OF Matthews

Nov 22, 2006 - 7:10 PM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim apparently have landed the impact player they coveted.

According to a Los Angeles Times report Wednesday, the Angels have agreed to terms with Matthews on a five-year, $50 million contract.

One of baseball's premier defensive outfielders, Matthews also has added an offensive dynamic to his game in recent years. He hit .313 this past season - by far his career high - and also recorded personal bests with 19 homers and 79 RBI en route to his first All-Star berth.

Angels general manager Bill Stoneman is looking to upgrade the club's stagnant offense at third base, first base and center field. The late-blooming Matthews would help accomplish just that, allowing Chone Figgins to move permanently to third base or back to his super-sub role.

Matthews entered 2006 with a career average of .253, with a high mark of .276 as a role player for Baltimore in 2002. In fact, he played for five teams in his first five major league seasons, including a pair of stints with San Diego.

Matthews hit for the cycle against Detroit on September 13, but the highlight of his season came on July 1, when he made one of the most spectacular catches in baseball history, robbing Houston's Mike Lamb of a home run with a leaping, twisting grab over the center field wall.

The 32-year-old Matthews has a .263 average with 78 home runs and 315 RBI in 875 games over his eight-year career.

The allure of playing at home and for a perennial playoff contender seems to have drawn Matthews to the Angels. Matthews' parents live in Southern California and his 9-year-old son lives in Santa Monica.

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