It’s too soon to determine where Angel Pagan might wind up, but the possibilities are decreasing as each day passes. The Washington Nationals eliminated their need for a center fielder when they acquired Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins on Thursday and the Atlanta Braves plugged their need for a center fielder by signing B.J. Upton.
What does all of this mean?
It means that the potential landing spots Angel Pagan are beginning to become slimmer, as aforementioned.
For the Giants, this whole process is happening rather rapidly. Few probably anticipated as much activity as there has been coming before the Winter Meetings, which begins next week. Perhaps by the conclusion of the meetings in Nashville, all of baseball’s top free agent outfielders will be signed. At this pace, that prediction is pretty plausible.
However, the Phillies spiced up the situation on Friday. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Phillies are pursuing Pagan, and that both the Giants and Phillies have offered him four year contracts. Rosenthal’s report doesn’t come across as much of a surprise seeing that the Phillies need a center fielder. Also, having just missed out on Upton, they feel the need to sign someone before their options diminish.
Initially, everything was good and well for the Giants. They were expected to resign Pagan and Marco Scutaro, and be on their merry way. But Philadelphia’s increased desire for the veteran may be one of the final indications that he won’t be wearing the orange and black come opening day. Or, it might imply that the Phillies and Giants may engage in a bidding war over Pagan’s services. Out of those two possibilities, though, the former seems more feasible than the latter.
Well, the Phillies seem much more interested in Pagan’s services than the Giants and would therefore probably be more committed to fulfilling his demands. Sure, both clubs offered him four years, but the Giants simply might be trying to implement a ploy to drive up his overall value. And as much as Brian Sabean continues to reassure the fans that his top priority is Pagan, that constant reassurance is seemingly becoming a fib with other suitors emerging.
In retrospect, I wouldn’t go as far to say that the Giants fully crave Pagan. Talks between the Giants and Pagan reportedly haven’t go as smoothly as originally planned. He wants more years than the Giants want to dish out, which leaves him with no other choice but to oversee alternative landing spots and leave no stone unturned. That’s simply a natural cycle amongst all free agents, espcially for a player like Pagan whose going though this process for the first time in his career.
While Pagan still remains a priority for general manager Brian Sabean at the winter meetings, his availability might not stretch out that far. See, the Phillies don’t want to alienate their hungry fan base fresh off a disappointing season. One way to rock that boat would be to avoid the problem at hand, and not sign an outfielder to shore up a glaring need. I doubt they would want to do that.
Furthermore, not signing Upton already rocked the boat slightly. Therefore, it would behove of management to jump back on the horse rather quickly, which is why we’re seeing sudden pursuit of Pagan from Phillies’ brass. Perhaps their pressing interest may see Pagan signing before the busiest week of the offseason, erasing Sabean’s plan to craft a deal during the week. Nothing is imminent, however.
Since both the Phillies and Giants reportedly offered Pagan four years, the big, and possibly the deciding factor, will be the money. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any details released pertaining to this regard yet. If the Phillies did indeed offer more money than the Giants, Pagan would most likely take it and run. The same scenario applies to the Giants’ offer.
Realistically, it was only a matter of time before teams jumped on the Pagan bandwagon. And now that the first couple of dominos have fallen (Span and Upton), Pagan’s suitors will be in constant contact with his agent because the list of outfielders is steadily decreasing.
The Giants have two choices. They can keep up with the Phillies and other suitors, or move on. But it’s safe to say that if Philly comes through with an offer too good to pass up, Pagan will be headed back East.