Miraculously, Gary Matthews Jr. and not Angel Pagan was the 2010 Opening Day centerfielder. Think about that for a moment. Now that you’ve thought about it, was it any surprise that the previous management regime is history?
After looking like a bonafide starting MLB centerfielder through 88 games in 2009, there was some question as to whether Pagan was the real deal. Well, he kept up the pace and then some in 2010, leading the team in hits (168), batting average (.290), and stolen bases (37), while finishing second or third in nearly every other offensive category. Additionally, he played stellar if unspectacular defense in centerfield until Carlos Beltran returned, then played stellar and occasionally spectacular defense in right field.
Without Pagan, the Mets might have struggled to stay ahead of the Nationals and out of the NL East basement.
It would seem that Pagan has proven he can be a solid, occasionally exciting, MLB centerfielder. However, Carlos Beltran is likely to return to centerfield if he is not traded during the winter. If indeed Beltran is still a Met come April, and does not move from center, it is assumed that Pagan will be penciled in as the starter in one of the corners. Alternatively, Sandy Alderson could make the very shrewd move of trading Pagan while his stock is high, gambling that the soon-to-be 30-year-old (in July 2011) has peaked. Considering that much of Pagan’s game is reliant on his wheels, and he has had an injury-plagued career, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to trade him now for the right package of young talent. Personally, I hope he sticks around, as his game is tailored to Citi Field and I thoroughly enjoy watching him play.
Read the 2009 evaluation of Angel Pagan