So, while I was working yesterday, I checked in periodically to see what was happening with the four playoff games being played. The first game I locked my eyes on was the decisive Game 5 between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. The team by the Bay showed that winning games at home in the postseason were overrated, as they lost the first two games at AT&T, only to take the last three in a row from the Reds on the road at the Great American Ballpark. Buster Posey put the cherry on top with a grand slam to help ensure the 6-4 for San Francisco, but it was a play by Angel Pagan I saw that made me realize how grateful he must be for getting traded last winter.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget that Pagan is on the Giants; being on the East coast, there isn’t a whole lot of coverage for the teams out in California, unless you’re the Dodgers and you decide to trade for every high salary player in the league. So, even though I was aware our centerfielder from 2011 was now playing for the Giants, it was rare that I remembered to check in and see how he was doing. Well, looks like he’s doing just fine. Although he only hit .150 in the five games against the Reds, the outfielder doubled and homered, while driving in four runs, and played some fantastic defense to help the Giants mount their comeback after digging themselves in an 0-2 hole.
It was the play he made in the bottom of the eighth that caught my eye; the tying run was at the plate with two outs, and Bruce Bochy brought in Sergio Romo to get the final out of the inning. Dioner Navarro hit a liner to shallow center field, and it looked like it was going to drop. However, it only looked that way because the TV didn’t show Pagan racing after the ball until right before it was about to hit the ground. Pagan made a great diving catch, and in one motion, he rolled on the ground and got right up, while pumping his first in the air. That’s the type of passion we see everyday from professional baseball players, but it gets magnified in October. That play ended the inning and the threat for the Reds, and Romo came out to finish Cincy off in the ninth, punching their ticket to the NLCS, and starting the celebration of champagne in the visitor’s clubhouse.
I’ve tried to give both Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez the benefit of the doubt through the 2012 season, but enough is enough. When Sandy Alderson made this trade last winter, it pointed to the Mets having the upper hand. Yes, the two teams traded centerfielders who had fallen out of grace with their respective teams, but a change of scenery can do wonders for a player, while New York also added a bonafide reliever to their bullpen. So, what did Torres and Ramirez do this past season? Torres was slated to be the Mets’ leadoff man, but he didn’t spend much time at the top of the order with a .230/.333/.316 line with 3 homers and 35 RBI. As for Ramirez, he struggled with inconsistency (I’m trying to be nice) throughout the season, going 3-4 with a 4.24 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and 52 strikeouts in 63.2 innings pitched.
How did Angel do this year, you ask? Much better than either of the parts the Mets received in return. He was an important part of the team that ended up running away with the NL West division title, as he hit .288/.338/.440 with 8 homers and 56 RBI, which resembles the season he had in 2010 with New York (.290/.340/.425, 11 HR, 69 RBI). He was Super-2 arbitration-eligible last year, agreeing to a one-year/$4.85 million contract with San Francisco. The Giants are incredibly pleased with his performance this season, and although he will be a free agent at the end of the postseason, they’ve expressed interest in bringing him back to the Bay.
Could the Mets go after him? He has a little bit of power, is a switch hitter, and has some speed….no, probably not. Pagan had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff and in the clubhouse, so I doubt New York will be considering him as an option in the free agent market. Plus, he will likely be looking for a multi-year deal, something Alderson will not be willing to do. I knew Pagan had to be traded away last winter, but I did like him and am very happy that he’s having the kind of success he’s having this season.
What do you think? Do you wish the Mets gave Pagan another chance before trading him away?