Ken Rosenthal (natch) is first to hint that the San Francisco Giants are close to reaching a deal with their center fielder, Angel Pagan. The deal is reportedly four years and $40 Million, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports. Pagan is not the best center fielder on the market but he is certainly the one GM Brian Sabean and his Giants front office know best, making him the perfect match for the Giants as they begin their title defense.
After acquiring Pagan from the Mets in exchange for the now-DFA’d Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez, Pagan posted strong numbers and played terrific defense for the World Champs, compiling nearly 5 fWAR in 2012. Might the Giants look back at this deal with the same contempt and scorn now reserved for Aubrey Huff‘s highly avoidable contract, signed after his strong performance leading the Giants to their 2010 title?
Pagan is younger than Huff was at that time but does have a slightly spotty track record. Terrific season with the Mets in 2010, replacement level in 2011, great again with the Giants in 2012. What kind of return do the Giants expect from their investment in a 31-year old center fielder whose best attributes are his speed and defense? A lot depends on a player in his early thirties staying healthy, though Pagan might rate as a “young” 31 as he didn’t play full time until age 28.
A four year deal means the Giants will pay a 35-year old center fielder more than $10 Million in 2016. Given the current state of salary inflation, that might represent a bargain, as the $/WAR models are taking a beating under the new CBA.
The Giants can be tough to figure out at times, as some of the moves force many scratched heads to go with two World Series titles in three years. Winning now is never a bad idea, which is what this four-year deal with Pagan looks to satisfy. As we all must admit, underestimate Brian Sabean and the Giants at your peril.
Here’s the tiniest shred of context for the bizarre photo for this post