Archive: January 8th, 2008

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?


David Wright: Not the Best Player

If you watched the SNY Hot Stove Report (which will be shown again Wednesday at 6:30 PM on SNY), then you may or may not have picked up a few morsels of wisdom from Willie Randolph. In particular ….

  • While discussing the end-of-season slump by Jose Reyes, Willie mentioned that it’s tough when “…your best player is slumping …”
  • Aha! So Jose is the best player on the Mets — not David Wright, Carlos Beltran, nor any other Met. Hopefully this means there is no chance he is traded for Johan Santana. OK, this isn’t a scoop, and it really means nothing, but interesting that he would refer to someone as “the best”.

    At the end of the show, the happy, shiny, eternally optimistic Marty “Crepehanger” Noble began to respond to an email asking about Ruben Gotay’s chances for playing in 2008. Luckily, time ran out right after Noble extolled the virtues of Gotay’s energy off the bench and before he could fully bury the rest of his game.

    All in all, a mildly decent show if you’re struggling between it and, say, “World’s Wildest Police Videos”, but otherwise not particularly enlightening.

  • In response to questions about several players who had tough seasons or bad finishes (particularly, Reyes and Carlos Delgado), Willie’s standard answer was, “I’m confident in … I’m sure he’s going to bounce back.”
  • He referred to so many bounce backs I’m wondering if Randolph should incorporate pogo sticks into the spring training workouts.

  • After being asked if the Mets need a “big starting pitcher”, Willie initially responded in the affirmative. He stated that the Mets needed to replace the innings that Glavine provided last year, and that “we’re hoping that by spring training we’ll do something … or during the spring we might be able to make something happen …”
  • So apparently the Santana, Blanton, and other rumors will continue. Although, Willie did also admit that the Mets don’t want to “make a knee-jerk reaction” or respond to the pressure of making a move. He also said that he was very happy with the guys he has, and that sometimes you need to give the younger guys a chance, that one of the younger guys such as Pelfrey, Humber, or Mulvey, needs to step up. Hmm … so … the Mets need to bring in a pitcher from the outside, but they don’t. As usual, Willie was remarkably non-committal and talking in circles. And contrary to popular belief, I find it charming.

My wife had an excellent quote in regard to Willie’s roundabout way of expressing himself:

“After listening to the Roger Clemens press conference and 17-minute phone conversation with Brian McNamee, Randolph was refreshingly definitive.”

Also during the Hot Stove Report, Carlos Delgado came on via phone. He stated

“… we know we had a good team, we had a good lead, it got to a point where … I’m not gonna say we assumed we were going to win …”

I cut off the quote there because, honestly: the minute someone — anyone — starts with “I’m not gonna say …” then you know for sure that it is EXACTLY what he wants to say. (For the record, he went on to blah blah about how maybe they should have focused better, you can’t assume, blah blah. You can watch / listen to all of his comments, as well as most of Willie’s, on SNY.)

We already knew that at least part of the Mets’ problem last year was that their collective head swelled to dangerous proportions, leading to occasional lapses of apathy. But it was nice that one of the players (almost) admitted to it; it kind of confirms our suspicions.