Matt Lawton This article refers to the baseball player. For the political columnist, see Matthew Lawton. Matthew ("Matt") Lawton III (born November 3, 1971 in Gulfport, Mississippi) is a right fielder in Major League Baseball who has played for the Minnesota Twins (1995-2001), New York Mets (2001), Cleveland Indians (2002-04), Pittsburgh Pirates (2005), Chicago Cubs (2005), New York Yankees (2005) and Seattle Mariners (2006). He bats left-handed and throws right-handed.
In a 10-season career, Lawton is a .269 hitter with 125 home runs and 577 RBI in 1182 games.
Lawton blossomed in 1998, when he posted career-highs in home runs (21), doubles (36) and triples (6), hitting .278 with 91 runs. In 2000 he made the American League All-Star team, and finished the season with .305, 88 RBI and a .406 on base percentage, all career-highs.
After two injury-filled years, in 2004 Lawton played so well in the first half that he made the All-Star team for the second time in his career. After hitting .305 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI at the break, he cooled in the second half but still finished with 20 home runs, 70 RBI, a .277 average and a career-high 109 runs in 150 games.
The Indians traded Lawton to the Pirates before the 2005 season for relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes. On July 31, 2005, Lawton was traded to the Chicago Cubs for fellow outfielder Jody Gerut. On August 27 of the same year, Lawton was traded to the New York Yankees for minor league pitcher Justin Berg. However, after only hitting .125 (6 for 48) with 2 home runs, he was left off the Yankees playoff roster. His combined season batting average was .254 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 141 games for Pittsburgh, the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees.
On December 22nd, 2005, Lawton signed a one year, $400,000 contract with the Seattle Mariners that could be worth as much as $1.25 million with incentives. As part of the deal, he also has a limited no trade clause. On May 20, after batting .259 in only 27 at-bats and slugging a career-low .259, Lawton was designated for assignment by the Mariners, giving the club 10 days to release, trade, or send Lawton to the minor leagues. On May 30, 2006 he was released.