One down, one to go.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports are reporting that the Giants have agreed to a four-year deal worth $40 million with outfiedler Angel Pagan.
Frankly, we thought the Giants would secure a deal with second baseman Marco Scutaro before locking down Pagan. But we like the deal for Pagan at $10 million a season.
If you don’t like the deal, consider this: it’s $20 million less than what the Giants gave to their last free-agent center fielder — Aaron Rowand in 2008.
Rowand’s contract expired after the 2012 season with the Giants paying him $12 million to NOT play for them in the final year of his contract. So the Giants are getting Pagan for $2 million less per year than what they paid Rowand last year.
It’s also at least $40 million less than what they likely would have had to spend to get Michael Bourn. The other option was Shane Victorino, who was said to be looking for a three-year deal for $30 million.
But Pagan was better than Victorino.
Pagan hit .288/.338/.440 with a league-high 15 triples (also a San Francisco Giants record) and played a solid center field. He ranked third in the majors in putouts by center fielders. He was second (a distant second to Bourn) in Total Zone Runs as a center fielders. He ranked ninth in the majors in UZR/150 for center fielders, two spots ahead of Victorino.
Tom Verducci on MLB Network mentioned one concern: that Pagan will be 34 when this contract ends, and there weren’t a lot of 34-year-old center fielders in baseball. Well, then it’s good that the Giants’ No. 1 prospect is a very good defensive center fielder: Gary Brown.
Brown struggled early in 2012 at Double-A before finishing with a .279/.347/.385 line in a pitcher-friendly league.
The Giants will want to see how Brown fares at Triple-A in 2013 before making a call-up. The Giants did play Brown some in left in 2012 just to see if he could be an option there.
Unlike Rowand in 2008, Pagan is not coming off a career year, per se. In other words, 2012 was not a fluke. He hit .290/.340/.425 in 2010 in 151 games for the Mets. Injuries limited him to 123 games in 2011, when he hit .262/.322/.372. He also hit .306/.350/.487 in 88 games in 2009 for the Mets.
We’d like to see Pagan walk a bit more and improve that OBP from the leadoff spot. But his contact rate of 87 percent is good and above MLB average (79 percent).
Pagan had a huge August, when Melky Cabrera was lost for the season to a suspension.
Pagan also hit .309 in August/September/October, when he hit in front of Marco Scutaro.
Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
That’s why we want to see the Giants finish some unfinished business next: re-sign Scutaro.