The market for elite free agents this year is extremely thin. That doesn’t mean that there are not any studs (Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke), but the drop off from the handful of studs to the second tier of the crop, is considerable. For Angel Pagan, this comes as great news. But for the Giants, this is nothing but bad news.
Pagan triple-slashed for .288/.338/.440 in 2012 with a few bumps in the road along the way. In June and July he hit south of .250, but balanced out his overall numbers with two terrific months (May and August ?] ).
Pagan’s stock rose marginally in the postseason, but not from a statistical perspective because his numbers were a far cry away from average. But the experience that he garnered along with a championship ring, makes his case even more compelling to potential suitors. It’s like a “he’s been there, done that” scenario.
So, in a market particularly thin on outfielders, Pagan has a lot to look forward to from his own personal standpoint considering that outside of Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton, and Nick Swisher, he will be a widely craved asset come the winter months. Plus, it’s possible that he’s just beginning to enter the prime of his career.
In 2010 and 2011 combined, Pagan hit a few ticks below .300 and complied an OPS of exactly .792. He failed to keep the line moving with a dreadful 2011 campaign in which he posted an OPS of just .694. Apparently, that was enough for the Mets to trade him, but the Giants clearly won that trade after a full year of sample size.
But the fact that Pagan has complied three good years in the past four seasons, labels him as someone who is or is about to enter his prime. The one glaring flaw to that statement is that inconsistency has always been a bit of a problem with him. That trend did not change this past season, though he managed to combat his inconsistency and turn in some solid overall numbers.
We all know that players in their primes are typically at their best. Marco Scutaro, for example, was a late bloomer, and Pagan might be following a comparable path.
Pagan’s closest twin, Michael Bourn, will reportedly seek a $100-plus million contract during the offseason. And with Scott Boras being his agent, his requests have a high probability of being granted when all the dominos fall.
Bourn is certainly a more credible commodity than Pagan. He is more recognized, has been an All-Star twice, and is simply just looked upon higher. With that said, the two are not far off from each other in terms of their skill sets. Both are leadoff hitters, both have great speed, both don’t hit for much power, and both typically hit for a high batting average. Defensively, Bourn might posses a tad more speed, but Pagan boasts a stronger arm to even the equation.
Does this mean that Pagan should demand $100 million as well?
Well, he could. His demands might not attract any suitors, but he could give it a shot. Realistically, he probably isn’t going to rake in that type of contract. Considering that he is a parallel player to Bourn, though, the Giants should be somewhat rattled about the idea of Pagan demanding a big contract.
Giants’ management elected not to offer him a qualifying contract, which would equal $13.3 million based on a one-year deal. While it’s safe to say that Pagan will presumably demand a contract with a long-term facet, the annual salary of the set qualifying offer could be similar to what he might receive on the open market. Now, it’s just a matter of whether the Giants have interest in matching a deal with an annual salary worth roughly $13 million.
Yes, $13 million per year for a player who did not even total ten home runs should be a little mind-boggling to you, but that’s how slim the market is for outfielders. To put things into perspective, Pagan isn’t worth that type of money under normal circumstances where the market is a bit deeper. Teams who need an outfielder this offseason though, will be willing to overpay to fill a need.
Simply, Pagan is in the right situation at the right time. The Giants, however, might end up losing their leadoff hitter, which would not bode them well in a slim market.