A Tender Moment: Angel Pagan

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According to Jon Heyman, the Mets plan on tendering a contract to embattled center fielder, Angel Pagan. The news comes as a surprise to some people, merely because of how disappointing Pagan’s 2011 season was, as well as the salary bump he will see through arbitration. Those two items aside, there really isn’t any center fielder a whole lot better (and the same price-range) as Pagan available, so tendering him a contract makes an inkling of sense.

After posting a .290/.340/.425 line with 11 homeruns, 69 RBI, 80 runs, and 37 stolen bases in 633 plate appearances in 2010, it looked as though the Mets had found their center fielder for at least the next three seasons. Pagan’s 13.3 UZR/150 also solidified his stature as a top-tier fielder. But then 2011 happened.

Pagan followed-up his first successful campaign with a real dud–hitting a .262/.322/.372 line with 7 homeruns, 56 RBI, 68 runs, and 32 stolen bases. Most surprisingly, the 29 year-old struggled tremendously in the field, gloving an abysmal -16.1 UZR/150 in center field.

Yet even with his seasonal stats falling short of his career averages (.279/.331/.418), the free agent center field crop isn’t exactly inspiring. With guys like Rick Ankiel, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Cody Ross, and Grady Sizemore leading the pack, it almost makes more sense to hope Pagan can at least produce somewhere in-between his lackluster 2011 and more heroic 2010 seasons. And if Pagan takes a step in the wrong direction, the Mets will simply hand the reigns over to someone else in 2013.

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