Reacquisition of Angel Pagan

Two years ago, the Mets sold up-and-coming outfielder Angel Pagan to the Cubs. At the time, Lastings Milledge was earmarked for a full season in the minors, but the Mets had Victor Diaz and Xavier Nady fighting it out for right field. The speedy, 24-year-old Pagan might have had a chance to crack the roster as an extra outfielder, but the Mets had brought in Tike Redman and Endy Chavez. Interestingly, while there seemed to be an outfield surplus, by the end of July both Nady and Diaz were gone (Redman was long gone), and the Mets were scrambling for any fly catchers with a heartbeat. They settled for guys such as Ricky Ledee and Michael “Mother” Tucker before trading for Shawn Green. It was then, of course, that the Monday morning quarterbacks wondered why Pagan was becoming a fan favorite in Wrigleyville.

After posting a respectable but limited season in 2007 — batting .264 with 10 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 homers in only 148 at-bats — Pagan returns to the Mets for a second go-around, in return for two non-prospects named Corey Coles and Ryan Myers. The trade makes a lot of sense for the Mets, who have been in the market for a righthanded-hitting outfielder to back up Ryan Church and be a foil to Endy Chavez. Personally, I would have preferred someone with the versatility to play first base, but I suppose the Mets are comfortable with Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson as backups to Carlos Delgado.

Almost immediately after this deal, there has been speculation from news-hungry fans that it is a precursor to something much bigger on the horizon. Considering the Mets’ complete lack of participation in the Hot Stove Season, it’s completely natural to wonder if this acquisition is a set up for, say, Carlos Gomez going to Oakland for Joe Blanton or to Minnesota as part of a package for Johan Santana. Certainly, there could be some truth to this, but my guess is that the main reason for Pagan’s presence is to ensure that Gomez starts the season in AAA and gets the regular at-bats needed there to further develop his potentially superstar skills.

Interestingly enough, someone erroneously (jokingly?) updated Pagan’s Wikipedia entry with this:

On January 6, 2008, Pagan was traded to the Twins for Johan Santana. The Trade Was Johan for Pagan, Gomez, Newhan, Pelfry, and Burgos.

No doubt a Mets fan with a sick sense of humor. By the time you read this it’s possible a Wikipedia cop removed the line from Pagan’s entry, but in the meantime perhaps it’ll start a wild internet rumor (I wouldn’t be surprised to see it noted in Buster Olney’s column).

What do you think? Am I off base here? Does Pagan’s entrance mean the exit of Gomez?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude January 8, 2008 at 9:11 am
    I just looked up Pagan’s page on Wikipedia and, yup, that bogus trade is still there. How easy is it to sneak stuff past the censors on that website?

    I don’t personally believe the Pagan acquisition sets the stage for any upcoming trade, for a number of reasons. Firstly, if Pagan was so easy to acquire by the Mets for two complete bums, certainly other teams could have had him just as easy but decided it wasn’t worth their while. Secondly, getting Pagan makes Gomez no more expendable because Pagan’s ceiling (which he may have already reached) is no where close to what we’re expecting to see from Gomez in time. So, in my mind, to think Pagan can replace Gomez in the Mets’ future plans is wrong. Thirdly, with losing Ambres, Johnson, Ledee, Green, Milledge, Negron, Matos, Newhan, and perhaps Hermansen this offseason, the Mets need to replenish their OF depth at the AAA level, and Pagan makes a good fit. I only think Pagan has about a 5% chance of cracking the opening day roster, but has pretty much about a 95% chance of making some contribution on the time in time, knowing Alou is bound to get hurt and Church is bound to struggle at some point against LHP.

    In other minor news I saw on the wire yesterday, the Mets signed a slew of players to minor league contracts. No one of particular worth, aside from Padilla (who we already knew about). However, two more catchers were brought into camp: Robinson Cancel, who spent time with Binghamton and New Orleans this past season, and Salomon Manriquez, who played for Texas’ AA team in 2007 and hit .275 with 16 HR. So now, along with Schneider and Castro at the major league level, as well as Gustavo Molina, Raul Casanova, Mike Nickeas, Sean McCraw, and Francisco Pena in the minors, I think the Mets’ catching depth is back to respectable.

  2. whatdatmean January 8, 2008 at 10:45 am
    Thats some good info right there.
    I agree, but disagree. I dont think that Pagan’s presence is a literal sign that gomez will be traded in that he replaces him, rather than that we have ML caliber depth to back up our OF’s.
    I believe Pagan was targeted by the Mets to cover for endy or gomez in the event of a trade. It is entirely 1 or both will be moved soon in trades for either santana or blanton. Pagan is an endy type of guy, who, when he was hurt last year, we missed desperatly. He is a splits type hitter, who covers a lot of ground and plays solid D. He is also very, very fast. He doesnt replace anyone, but he will act as a cushion if either was to depart, either as AAA depth, or as the 4th OF.
    Gomez, if traded, is essentially replaced by FMart, as he developes. You cant replace your best OF prospect, unless you get a new top OF prospect. But what we did get is a kid that can contribute in a similar way to our 2 men of trade bait.
    Pagan is likely a precursor to a trade bc there would be no need to add him otherwise. You dont want too many speedy, soft hitting OF on your club, unless you think you will be moving a few. Otherwise, you would be signing more OF’s like tucker, ledee, or Johnson for veteran work in AAA.Pagan is our security blanket, in case of a trade, or possibly, a player of interest for a team that wants their own endy type of guy…which seems to be a reasonible comparison[endy is still way better].
    Im hoping we sign Sean Casey. He would make an excellent backup 1st baseman, and a quality platoon guy to share time with alou and church. He can hit, plays OK D, and can be a leader.
  3. Micalpalyn January 8, 2008 at 2:50 pm
    So why not Reggie Sanders or Kevin Mench? I like Pagan alot, always did, and felt he was lost because of a 40 man roster crunch.

    But I do feel that this trade may mean more than just creating depth and competition. I think Pagan represents a better player than Ambres, Negron, Ledee or Tucker. I think he is a legit 4th OFer.

  4. Micalpalyn January 8, 2008 at 3:10 pm
    I was looking at the possiblity of a Joe Blanton /Rich Harden deal yesterday.

    So I googled & here is my summary:

    Looking back at the two trades made within one week, the A’s parted with two top starters- aces for NOTHING. The only player worth discussing is Dan Haren (OK maybe Daric Barton). Oakland just got 6 players for him.

    The Atlanta trade was faaar worse: Juan Cruz , Dan Meyer and Charles Thomas?

    Theen I found two other tidbits:

    “Assorted updates: Alou, Hudson, Garland, Okajima
    Earlier today, we found a report that Moises Alou was about to sign with the Mets. Now Rosenthal is saying that it could be a two-year deal. With Carlos Gomez right behind Lastings Milledge, putting two established vets in the outfield through 2008 would seem to make Milledge expendable….(from Nov 2006)’

    But look at the bottom of the page about the rumored Hudson for Beddard, Maine and Hayden Penn from 2004.

    My point is;
    1. Is Billy Beane a genius? Not based on these examples.
    2. Are we being to critical of Omar, for not selling the farm for one player?
    3. Should Omar but looking at the lesser fish? Yes. but 3 players i think is the max he gives up.

  5. joe January 8, 2008 at 3:12 pm
    Also of note, I’m pretty sure Pagan still has options. This gives the Mets flexibility in many ways. For example, they can still look at acquiring a Jason Botts / Nelson Cruz type of slugger without ruffling anyone’s feathers. If Sanders or Mench comes in, they’re almost certainly guaranteed a 25-man roster spot, and then you’re stuck with another possible Julio Franco situation.

    As mentioned by Isuzu, Pagan is essentially a RH version of Endy. If I were a MLB manager, I’d be very happy to have more than one Endy on my bench. While Pagan may not be a homerun threat, he should be a fairly strong PH option, plus he’s fast on the basepaths, and he’s strong in all three OF positions. Much rather see him in the OF in the late innings than Damion Easley.

  6. isuzudude January 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm
    Actually, Joe, it was whatdatmean who compared Pagan to Endy, but I’ll gladly take the credit 🙂 …..also, Pagan is a switch hitter, although he has hit better from the right side (.279) than left (.219) over his brief ML career.

    I think the one issue with carrying Pagan on the 25-man roster initially out of spring training is who is dropped to make room for him? Remember, our 5 man bench is already filled with Endy, Anderson, Easley, Castro, and Gotay. Do we really want to demote Gotay (the only one of the five with options) to make room for another outfielder? Although, as I think about it, there are arguments to keep Pagan over Gotay. 1 – on a left-hand heavy bench, Pagan would provide better hitting from the right side opposed to Gotay; 2 – Pagan’s OF defense is an upgrade over Gotay’s IF defense. However, without Gotay, it leaves Easley as the only bench player with experience playing the left side of the infield, and he could be seeing significant playing time in RF spelling for Church against tough LHP this season. Although if Pagan is on the roster too, that may alleviate Easley’s role in the OF in ’08. It may all boil down to who has the better spring training, Pagan or Gotay, or who doesn’t wind up getting traded, as to who breaks camp with a ticket to Flushing.

    Whatdatmean: I’m not understanding the Casey comment. Maybe if Delgado was right handed I could see bringing in a lefty 1B to back him up, but as is, Casey doesn’t make a lot of sense on the Mets. Their bench is already left hand heavy, and Casey would only add to that. Additionally, Casey has no experience playing the OF, so I’m not getting why he’d make “a quality platoon guy to share time with alou and church.” For the same reasons the Mets wisely stayed away and are staying away from Darren Erstad, Ryan Klesko, Travis Lee, Mark Sweeney, and company this offseason. Unless signed to minor league contracts (which I don’t forecast in Casey’s future), it just doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Mets.

    Mic: I agree with signing Mench, as stated before. He gives the Mets the perfect right-handed compliment to Church in RF, and can hit for good power and average against LHP, as proven in his past. Make room on the roster for him by demoting Gotay, thus allowing Easley to remain strictly an IF reserve player (barring injuries).

  7. Micalpalyn January 10, 2008 at 1:39 pm
  8. isuzudude January 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    something else worth a look. I know a few of us have been hot on his trail this offseason…hopefully, this puts the jets on those plans.

  9. Micalpalyn January 10, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Yes, I am a Metfan. I have Metsblog minimized at work. But this link just came up on Metsblog.
    Bored, i clicked on the link. The posts are hilarious.

    Here’s one:I’m going to cry. Tough guys don’t cry…well, Santana is awesome and he’ll make the Phils his bitch!