We’ve discussed this subject a lot on our site, but Mark Sheldon reports that Gary Matthews, Jr., has opted out of his contract and will become a free agent. This was also discussed some in the game thread last evening.

Matthews played in the July 23rd Louisville Bats 7-4 victory over Gwinnet Braves, going 2-5 to raise his average to .317. His contract, signed on June 24, said the Reds had until July 24 to call him up the major leagues or Matthews could opt out of the contract.

Matthews’s agent, Scott Leventhal is quoted as saying:

“Everything was amicable,” Leventhal said on Friday night. “It just didn’t work out. It wasn’t for lack of performance. They didn’t have the roster spot….”We’re not going to play Triple-A anywhere else,” Leventhal said. “He has nothing left to prove. He’s a 10-year veteran that spent the last 30 days in Louisville and putting up good numbers.”

Dusty Baker, to his credit, took the diplomatic approach and said all the right things:

“If he asked me, I’d talk to him. I’ve only talked to him once since he got here,” Baker said before word of Matthews’ decision was known. “To tell the truth, I’m so close to him and his father, that’s why I stayed away from the whole process of signing him in the first place. … I hope he stays even if it doesn’t fit right now.”