Angel Pagan Has Managed to Become Underrated Again
Angel Pagan is not having a good year, and some grumbling has begun. On Metsblog, Matt Cerrone has the following to say about Angel...
I've heard the team could look to trade him before possibly non-tendering him this winter, considering he’ll earn around $4 million next year through arbitration, after which he can be a free agent. Therefore, these last 150 or so at bats could prove to be quite important for his career, as it will further help management determine if he’s undervalued (like he was in 2009 and 2010) or overvalued (as he seems right now)."
Wait, why on earth would you non-tender Angel Pagan if he's only going to make four million dollars? Best as I can tell, he's the best all-around outfielder in their system right now with the second best being Lucas Duda, who is slow, not a good fielder, and has 250 major league plate appearences. If Kirk Nieuwenhuis had stayed healthy and continued raking in AAA all year, I think you could make a case for trading Pagan, and letting a young kid who'd just destroyed AAA play, but he's had season-ending surgery.
As for the notion via Bobby Ojeda that Pagan “has no concept of what the pitchers are trying to do in the zone. At this point in his career, he should comprehend the zone better. He doesn’t have very good zone recognition," I think that's a little silly. Pagan is walking significantly more and striking out significantly less than in previous years. Am I crazy, or does that suggest he understands the strike zone better, not worse?
This isn't just Metsblog and Ojeda, I had a friend the other day tell me he thinks Pagan looks "lost." Now I agree that Pagan is certainly not playing well, and if you are looking for a reason to be soured on him, his poor defensive stats (-3.4 UZR) could augur a real decline in his only elite skill (though I haven't noticed any difference in his defense, so the numbers could be fluky). But for the $4m dollars the Mets would save, what are the chances of getting a better player than Pagan, particuarly when that situation makes your best CF Jason Pridie? If you're assuming the Mets could get a better CF for $4m, or that the Mets could get a better CF than Pagan in return for Pagan, well...that would be great, but seems unlikely.
Besides, if you want to get rid of Pagan, you'd wait another season and try to collect draft picks. After all, as of MLB Trade Rumors latest Elias projections, Pagan is a Type-A player, meaning he'd require two draft picks of compensation if he signed elsewhere when he becomes afree agent (after next season).
So yea, I'm guessing Angel will stay.