When news broke that Angel Pagan had resigned with the Giants, it was a bit of a surprise because prior reports hadn’t suggested a deal being imminent. In fact, those reports suggested that Pagan may be headed elsewhere.
However, the Giants were indeed able to retain a valuable piece to their championship club. And at four-years, $40 million, Pagan likely obtained the payday he had originally hoped for when he forayed into the open waters.
Winner: Angel Pagan
The biggest winner of the signing is obviously Pagan himself, as he’s the one who will be cashing the checks. He originally sought a deal spanning up to five years, but since he set his demands high early, he was able to garner a solid four-year deal. Now, he has some long-term security.
Pagan’s newly inked four-year deal eases the burden. Not only is the that contract year pressure erased, but he’s in a city where he is a fan favorite, and will continue to be for presumably the next four years, if everything goes according to plan of course. Giants’ fans just hope he isn’t the second coming of Aaron Rowand, who just came off their books this year.
At 31-years-old, Pagan is probably fortunate to receive four years. Yes, the thin crop of talented outfielders probably had something to do with the contract, but it’s not like he’s been anything in the realm of a superstar over the course of his seven year career. A ten million dollar annual salary is right on the brink of a “star” contract, I would say.
Pagan boasts a career slash of .281/.333/.424 with a modest .757 OPS. Speed and defense are clearly two things working in his favor, as well. Still, he can be inconsistent and prone to fall into lengthy slumps.
Obviously his career numbers are respectable, but it’s safe to say that the he was overpaid slightly. Given the circumstances, though, he was poised to land a deal similar to the one he actually received. Thus, a big-time winner.
Loser: Gary Brown
The Brown situation will be an interesting one to monitor over the next couple years. The speedy centerfield is still one of the Giants’ top prospects despite taking a couple steps back in 2012 with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. However, when he is ready, finding a vacancy for him to fill will be tough, at least for the next four years if Pagan remains productive.
At 24-years-old, Brown might not see the keys to the Giants’ centerfield job until he is 28. Of course he can play left if needed, but he isn’t a “true” left fielder, per se. The real question is, will the Giants end up trading him in the near future? It might be too soon to make any accurate predictions, as one “off” year doesn’t call for drastic measures just yet. But one would have to believe that if Brown doesn’t bounce back next year, the Giants could seriously look into trading him before his overall value is zero.
Bobby Evans, who is the Giants’ vice president of baseball operations, was optimistic when asked about Brown (Via the San Jose Mercury News), “It’s a good problem to have,” Evans said. “I think Gary will put himself in the big leagues at the right time.”
The right time is the right time, but if the right time is within the next four years, retaining Brown is essentially worthless. Therefore, they’d be better of dealing him while he’s still young and possess value because a 28-year-old washed up prospect probably wouldn’t appeal to the masses.
Winner: The Giants
A few days ago, it didn’t seem likely that San Francisco and Pagan were going to agree on a contract. At that time, the Phillies had jumped into conversations, and seemed destined to make an offer too good to pass up. Well, we all know how this story ends.
If San Francisco had ended up losing Pagan, they would be in a sticky situation. Shane Victorino, who signed with the Red Sox on Tuesday, seemed to be their second choice. Michael Bourn was also under their watch, but his commands would likely persuade the Giants away.
So, they could’ve been left with nothing in a worst case scenario. Then, they would probably be forced to dig for bottom of the barrel parts, or leave centerfield with Gregor Blanco. Based on his wobbly track record, Blanco probably isn’t the man for that job.
Loser: Gregor Blanco
Blanco was so close to grasping the centerfield job until Pagan resigned with San Francisco. This wouldn’t be unfamiliar territory for him, as he did start 90 games in 2012, albeit that was due to Melky Cabrera’s suspension and a beginning of the season hot streak.
Now, it’s likely that he will defer to a platoon role. Yes, the Giants don’t have any foreseeable alternatives to pair Blanco with at the moment, but they’re looking for one. Scott Hairston, Ben Francisco, and Ryan Ludwick have all been linked to the Giants to fulfill that role, however, nothing is imminent.
While Blanco’s hopes of being a full-time starter haven’t been completely derailed, they’re about as minimal as can be.