The New York Mets and surprisingly star outfielder, Angel Pagan, avoided arbitration yesterday by agreeing to a one year, $3.5 million contract. The two sides were about $1 million apart, but came to a middle-ground before having to go to arbitration.
It seems only right that Angel Pagan blossomed with the Mets in 2010. Pagan was originally drafted by the Mets in the 4th round of the 1999 amateur draft, but was purchased by the Chicago Cubs in 2006. The outfielder made his debut with the Cubs that year, but showed poor plate discipline (15 BB’s in 187 PA’s) and minimal stolen bases despite great speed. After a similar unspectacular season in 2007, the Cubs dealt Pagan back to the Mets in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers.
Due to injuries to Carlos Beltran in 2008, Pagan got a chance to showcase the abilities that attracted him to the Mets in the first place. The right-handed hitter posted an impressive .306/.350/.406 line with 6 HR, 14 SB, 32 RBI, and 54 R. At the very least, Pagan proved that he was an integral bench piece–but even at age 28, there were still the seeds of a good, capable starter. With Beltran still on the shelf, Pagan became the Mets 2010 starting center-fielder. Considering Beltran was both a dynamic fielder and hitter, Pagan obviously had big shoes to fill. The now 29 year-old former Mets prospect more than honorably filled-in for Beltran, posting a .290/.340/.425 line with 11 HR, 37 SB, 69 RBI, and 80 R. Pagan even posted a similar UZR/150 in center as the defensive great, Beltran.
The lacking plate discipline and minuscule stole base totals of yesteryear were gone. It took over ten seasons for Pagan to finally realize his abilities, but fortunately for the Mets, at least it was for them. With Beltran back in the fold for 2011, Pagan figures to shift back over to right-field–however, if Beltran proves incapable of handling center, the Mets have a gold glove-caliber CF in Pagan.
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