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?