Report: Angels sign free agent OF Matthews, Jr.

Updated: November 22, 2006, 3:06 PM ET
SportsTicker

ANAHEIM, California - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have landed the impact player they coveted.

The Angels on Wednesday agreed to terms with center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. on a five-year deal.

Although no financial details were announced, the Los Angeles Times reported the deal to be worth $50 million.

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 for the Texas Rangers - by far his career high - and also recorded personal bests with 19 homers and 79 RBIs, most by an American League leadoff hitter - 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 helps accomplish just that, allowing Chone Figgins to move permanently to third base or back to his super-sub role.

"One of our objectives during this offseason was to improve ourselves in center field," Stoneman said. "We believe Gary is a great fit for this ballclub. In addition to his outstanding play in center field, he has the versatility to leadoff or hit deeper in the batting order."

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 RBIs 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.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index