Angel Pagan Heads to San Francisco

The magic of the Winter Meetings continued late into the evening on Day Two, with the Mets and Giants agreeing to the first trade of the meetings. The two teams agreed on a swap of center fielders coming off a bad year, with Angel Pagan heading to San Francisco in exchange for Andres Torres as well as reliever Ramon Ramirez.

Pagan joins fellow trade acquisition Melky Cabrera and incumbent Giants Brandon Belt, Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff as outfield options for Bruce Bochy next year. Pagan likely becomes the starting center fielder in San Francisco, which would allow the Giants to play Cabrera in a corner where his talents are best suited. Unless Bruce Bochy remains as committed to benching Belt as he seemed last season, chances are Belt and Huff will somehow be split between first base and left field, with Schierholtz relegated to a fourth outfield spot.

This new arrangement projects to be a massive upgrade over last season, particularly before the acquisition of Carlos Beltran. Among Giants outfielders, only Schierholtz, Cody Ross, and Pat Burrell managed an above-average wRC+ in 2011. As a whole, non-Beltran Giants outfielders were 8.2 runs below average, a big reason why their offense was the most anemic in the National League.

Pagan should help that cause, as even in a down year he well outhit both Torres and Aaron Rowand, San Francisco’s two main center fielders. The duo combined to hit a whopping 17.4 runs below average in 749 plate appearances. Despite a BABIP of .285, 29 points below his career mark, Pagan was effectively average, checking in with +0.8 batting runs. He takes a moderate amount of walks (7.5% career), makes good contact (14.7% strikeout rate career), and has serviceable power (.140 ISO career) — he does more than enough things well for his bat to play in center field. Pagan’s bat should be well above Torres’s regardless of if Pagan rediscovers his singles stroke in San Francisco or not.

The sticking point for San Francisco will be which glove Pagan brings to the bay. Pagan’s defensive numbers plummeted anywhere from 15 runs (DRS) to 38 runs (TotalZone) depending on which metric you prefer. Meanwhile, Torres continued to excel, recording a +9.4 UZR after a +22 season in 2010.

In the Giants’ case, offense is much more of a need than defense — the pitching staff is good enough and grounder-heavy enough (46.4% overall, 4th in MLB) to hide the difference between Pagan and Torres effectively as long as Pagan plays the reasonably decent center field he played prior to 2011. Perhaps the Mets knew something about Pagan that we don’t, but it also seems reasonable enough that they would prefer the multiple years of control of the reclamation project in Torres as well as the addition of the reliever in Ramirez.

The addition of Pagan gives the Giants a real center fielder with a semi-reliable bat, something their roster sorely lacked in 2010. It allows them to play Melky Cabrera at a position more suiting to his glove as well, as the prospect of him sprinting after balls in the cavernous AT&T Park outfield is a gloomy one. Pagan’s acquisition was not a sexy trade by any means, but the Giants added another useful piece towards rebuilding their tattered offense for the 2012 season.




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67 Responses to “Angel Pagan Heads to San Francisco”

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  1. Jays12 says:

    “The magic of the Winter Meetings continued late into the evening on Day Two, with the Mets and Giants agreeing to the first trade of the meetings.”

    So the Kevin Slowey trade doesn’t count cause he sucks? The Santos trade doesn’t count because the Jays are in Canada? hmm

    I don’t get it.

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  2. Keg Zona says:

    …but if this somehow pushes Belt to the bench so help me God I’ll hunt Sabes and Boch down and…

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  3. h2oetry says:

    As long as Pagan avoids making errors in the field (second in the league), then SF made a good trade here.

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  4. Astromets says:

    I think this is a good deal for the Mets, and that they have the better chance of being the ‘winner’ of the trade. I don’t think that one extra year of control mattered much for the Mets going after 31 yo Torres, instead I think his superior defense, matched with a solid reliever, spreading the money to two cheaper players and the chance to get rid of Pagan (who I personally like a lot, but has continually been reported to not be liked by some in the Mets org, even pre-Sandy era) made this a pretty easy choice for them.

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  5. Josh B says:

    Sandy robbed Sabean IMO. Pagan is one of the defensive CF’s of all time. For a singles hitter he strikes out way too much.

    Torres has a much better glove, and if he’s healthy and on can find the gaps and draw walks.

    Throw in the reliever on top of it. This was a lopsided deal IMO. Alderson is now 2-0 vs Sabean.

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    • Josh B says:

      Oops.. I meant one of the WORST CF’s of all time.

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      • Notrotographs says:

        You are, of course, going to provide some kind of justification to support this claim.

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      • AT says:

        Of course not. It’s either my eyes seen it or one year UZR says it. Of all the centerfielders in history, because I’ve seen all of them, Pagan is the worst? No it definitely isn’t that one.

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    • cs3 says:

      ” Sandy robbed Sabean IMO.

      Torres has a much better glove, and if he’s healthy and on can find the gaps and draw walks.”
      ==================
      so did you miss the half of the article where the author methodically explained how losing Torres’ glove is only a minor issue for the Giants compared to the increased offense Pagan is projected to generate?

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      • gcbaseball25 says:

        If Torres has a bounce back year, this is a huge trade for the Mets. He will be the new leadoff hitter, since Reuben Tejada is going to have the reins at short and the Mets have never been really inclined to lead him off. He can develop nice and quietly hitting 7th or 8th in the order. Ramirez is a nothing short of dominant in the middle innings against either lefties or righties. Plus the adding of rauch and francisco gives that met bullpen an actual feel of legitimacy near the back end. If they can get Santana back on the hill and in good form, they can make some noise from the mound at citi field. The Mets need to be built on pitching and defense in that ballpark, it may not be the sexiest thing in NYC, but it wins games in the NL East.

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    • crazycarluxc says:

      You know you’re right. Of all the defensive CF’s of all time Pagan was one of them.

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    • Timbo says:

      I’ve seen Torres regularly since coming to the Giants and the Mets are getting a top of the line defensive CF, a good base stealer, and great clubhouse guy. Problem is he will not walk and he will swing at anything thrown to him. Last year especially his bat seemed to slow down a lot so he started rushing his swing, which led to even more strikeouts. Expect to see lots of Ks from him.

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      • wily mo says:

        well even last year his walk rate was 10.6%, so he had a .312 OBP even with a .221 BA, but okay, if you say he won’t walk i guess he won’t walk

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    • Alderson also has to get to $78MM to cover Wilpon’s stupidity.

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  6. Josh B says:

    The difference in glove between Torres and Pagan washes out the difference in their bats.

    Sandy got a CF wash and a top reliever cherry on top. Sabean got blown to bits here.

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    • Evan says:

      I hate Sabean, but he didn’t get fleeced here at all. He gave up an easily-replaceable reliever (Giants have Hembree on his way up) for a younger, healthier version of Torres. Torres likely won’t be able to stay on the field next year, so it’s hardly a wash.

      Plus, as the author noted, it moves Melky Cabrera out of CF, which is valuable in itself.

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    • Solidarity says:

      You presuppose that Ramon Ramirez is a top reliever. You would be wrong. The Giants get a bit salary relief for not having to pay Ramirez, probably enough to overwhelm the extra money that Pagan will make over Torres. Pagan is also four years younger, and is more viable as an everyday player because he doesn’t have as dramatic a platoon split.

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      • Scout Finch says:

        I see Ramirez as a somewhat pedestrian middle reliever who had a good time in SF avoiding high leverage situations vs. top lefty hitters. No substance to back it up. But I’d put $ on it.

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    • Chris says:

      I love Torres, but are people here somehow unaware that he is going to be 34 in 2012? The Giants turned a likely non-tender and a fungible reliever into a decent CF–at the very least a CF who offers a more valuable bat at the position than anyone else on the roster–and some extra breathing room on the payroll.

      I don’t even like Sabean, but to say he got blown to bits here is a huge exaggeration. This is a solid move for both sides.

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      • Larry Yocum says:

        Damn, meant to hit thumbs up on this and accidently hit thumbs down. I think Pagan is definitely the better option going forward. Much younger, solid contact guy and a higher SB%. Torres turning 34 is a much bigger deal than guys are making it out to be. In the post steroids era, that is when guys are going to start to decline rapidly. They were likely going to non-tender Torres anyway and have plenty of bullpen arms, so to get a potential starting CF is a win.

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      • wily mo says:

        torres being 34 is probably the best argument against him, yes. makes it much more likely that even if the arguments about pesky injuries etc. are true, they’ll keep happening.

        i do think his baseline talent level is better than a lot of people think, though.

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      • Hmm, Sabean got taken for trading a 33 year old CF pie thrower with ADHD and a reliever who was inserted situationally to maximize his skills for a CF who hit ~60 points over the guy he replaces.

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  7. GotHeem says:

    I don’t really think anyone won in this trade. Giants needed a solid outfielder and had a ton of pitching they are able to part with. Losing Ramirez will only slightly weaken the dominant bullpen and although I will miss him, I am expecting good things from Pagan. Surely his defense and BABIP will rebound, and if he can put up a 8% BB rate while keeping around a 14%K rate he will be a welcomed addition to our shoddy offense.
    I’m more worried about Melky Cabrera relapsing and Belt not getting playing time in the increasingly crowded outfield. I hope they bench Huff on the days where Posey will be filling in at 1B, I would hate to see him out there in left over Belt.

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  8. DrBGiantsfan says:

    Giants get a starting CF and leadoff hitter. Right or wrong, Torres clearly was not in their plans for 2012 he was definitely going to be non-tendered. Ramirez as a pretty good reliever, but no higher than the 6′th man in the bullpen. He was probably going to be non-tendered too.

    Pagan and Torres are similar players and have similar flaws, but Pagan is younger and was far better offensively than Torres last year when both regressed from 2010. Not sure what to make of the D issue.

    If you told me that one of them is going to repeat their 2010 season and forced me to bet on which one, I would take Pagan without much hesitation.

    Melky was a bit miscast as both a CF and leadoff hitter. This moves him to a more comfortable defensive position and enables him to bat 2′nd or 3′rd where he was productive last year for KC.

    The biggest downside for the Giants is it probably means Brandon Belt starts the season in Fresno, which may be a pretty big opportunity cost. On the other hand, Belt is not a lock to reach his intriguing projections and a bit more salt in Fresno won’t hurt him in the long run.

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    • Scout Finch says:

      What about that Dominican salt? Nothing toughens your meat like the Caribbean variety.

      I think Jack’s projection of Schierholtz being pushed to 4th OF may be spot on. Huff may be just as bad as last year as well. Plenty of opportunity for Belt to live up to the hype. If they can’t get him on the field, be done with it and trade him.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Oh yeah, just give up on a guy who still has two options just because you can’t get him on the field? Both Melky and Pagan as well as Huff are FA’s after this year so worse case scenario is Belt stays in Fresno and moves up next year. It is likely at least one of those 3 guys craters or gets injured at some point opening up an opportunity for Belt then. No need to trade the guy!

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    • Uh Oh says:

      When you’re looking forward to Melky Cabrera as your 2 or 3 hitter, you are in trouble.

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      • Ken says:

        I’d think the Giants lineup looks like this given their current roster:

        1: Pagan
        2: Sanchez
        3: Sandoval
        4: Posey
        5: Huff
        6: Cabrera
        7: Schierholtz
        8: Crawford
        9: Pitcher

        Depending on the way Huff comes in to camp and plays in the spring, Belt’s spring, and how well Brett Pill seems to do, first base is a very intriguing position. Depending on what the Giants do with Ross, they may only have one guy who can play a good RF at AT&T

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        I would say Melky is most likely an upgrade for #2 hitter on Freddy Sanchez who would probably be better used in the 7 hole to break up a string of LH batters.

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      • Husker says:

        Ken, if you’re going to base your judgements on Spring Training, you would fit well in the Giants organization.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        I’m not a giants fan, but I live in SF and I see them quite a bit. Sorry, but aside from #3/#4, that looks like a pretty bad lineup again. For the Giants’ sake, let’s hope that their pitching continues to dominate.

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  9. mister_rob says:

    in Angel Pagan’s world, cutoff men are mere obstacles you must try and avoid while throwing the ball

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  10. wily mo says:

    i feel like anyone who is acting like they KNOW more or less how torres (or pagan for that matter) is going to hit next year is getting cocky about projection systems or their assumptions or last year always repeating itself or several things actually. one of the bigger betas in baseball, if you ask me

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    • vivalajeter says:

      Good point. There’s such a huge disparity between their ’10/’11 seasons that it’s pretty much impossible to know where they’ll be in ’12. If I had to guess, I’d think that Pagan is more likely to recover – but I wouldn’t be shocked if Torres was the better player next year.

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  11. Howard Bender says:

    Torres might be a better defensive outfielder than Pagan, but overall the Giants outfield is upgraded both offensively and defensively. You needed a guy like Torres (or even Rowand) when your corners were being manned by the likes of Burrell, Huff and Ross. You needed a CF who could cover a lot of ground and compensate for the slow-footed “water buffalo” defense. But with Belt over in left, Melky in right and Pagan in center (thankfully putting Huff back at first), the defensive makeup is definitely stronger on the whole.

    Offensively, you’re taking away some of the power potential, but you’re adding a faster leadoff guy who has a better OBP and you’re adding less of a sink-or-swim type hitter near the lower part of the lineup which should give Bochy more flexibility to play some more effective small ball, if you will. With Burrell and Ross, you’re basically sitting there hoping for a home run (the rarity lately) or, at the least, a walk and more often settling for the strike out.

    Love Schierholtz over in right, but he can stay on as the late inning defensive replacement in right. He’s a whiz defensively, but with the bat, it’s touch and go at best.

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  12. Bigmouth says:

    Little surprised (and, as a Giants fan, reassured) to realize Pagan’s only one year removed from a 5+ WAR season. Seems Sabes is again betting big on bounce backs (Melky, Pagan, and Huff) this off-season.

    One thing that concerns me. Without checking the numbers, I seem to recall Zito’s being a fly ball pitcher, and he was injured much of last year. Plus we won’t have Sanchez’s strikeouts. I fear the fly balls will increase.

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  13. Sean says:

    Is Pagan really a superior hitter to Torres?

    Bill James:

    Pagan – .278/.335/.399
    Torres – .255/.332/.405

    ?

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    • wily mo says:

      the thing about torres. his career numbers and averages are awful, sure. but he’s one of those swing mechanics change guys. he came to baseball late, in high school he was just a sprinter. early in his pro career he was following the “slap the ball on the ground and use your speed” model. which is terrible. after his career stalled he started using his whole body in his swing.

      really look at his minor league numbers. he started hitting for power in 2007 and didn’t stop until last year. sure he was old, but old slap hitters still don’t hit for that kind of power. something changed. even his 2009 major league numbers are similar to his 2010 production.

      last offseason i was all over him and bautista, since a lot of people were calling them flukes but if a guy changes his swing and gets results for a whole season i’ll usually take a shot on him carrying it forward. obviously the bautista part worked out last year, torres not so much. but torres struggled with injuries, his ADD medicine wearing off & not being able to sleep, the post-championship hype, they were making a documentary about him… there are a lot of variables. the people who thought he was a fluke are seeing what they expected to see, and maybe they’re even right, but maybe they’re not. for example, if bautista had tweaked his back or oblique or something in april and put up a weak season, as can happen to anybody, they’d be saying the same thing about him, too.

      another one, zobrist. changed his swing, hit for power. people called it a fluke. he had a weak 2010, fluke confirmed. unless you googled it really hard and saw that he had a back injury but played through it and didn’t make excuses because we’re all tough guy jocks around here. then last year he was healthy and hit pretty well again. i think torres could follow the same path. maybe not! but maybe.

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    • DrBGiantsfan says:

      Bill James= Projection. There’s a reason they play the games. Check out their career averages.

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  14. spliff(TONE) says:

    I don’t understand how anyone can be praising Sabean for trading Torres and Ramirez for Torres 2.0.

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  15. fergie348 says:

    The thing about Torres is that he’s got a medical condition that makes it very hard for him to stay patient and focused. I’ve watched his at bats for the last two years and last year he wasn’t thrown nearly as many strikes. Pitchers have figured out that you don’t need to throw him strikes – he’ll get himself out swinging at your pitches because he can’t focus long enough to identify balls that are probably out of the zone. Look at the strikeout rate early in the season – if it’s over 20%, I’d say these issues are not resolved and he’s a defensive replacement at best.

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    • wily mo says:

      well his K rate was around 24% even in 2009-2010 when he was hitting like gangbusters and was also 24% last year so i don’t know if i’d say a 20+ K% is a death sentence for him.

      last year his o-swing went up about 2% while his whiff rate actually declined. the big problem was he just wasn’t driving the ball when he did hit it – BABIP dropped, line drive rate dropped, HR/FB dropped. lots of possible explanations for that.

      the ADD as a factor as plate discipline theory is interesting but i don’t know if you can just assume that’s what’s going on, particularly since as i’m saying his BB and K%s didn’t actually change last year. has torres actually talked about that being a connection and a problem for him, or is that just you guessing?

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  16. Husker says:

    There is no conceivable justification for the Giants making this trade. Torres and Ramirez totalled 2.7, 7.0 and 3.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in the last three seasons. That is the equivalent of an MVP caliber season (2010) and two above average seasons. Pagan totalled 2.9, 5.5 and 0.9. That is, respectively, an above average season, a near-All-Star season and a very poor season. That’s a loss of more than a win per season. A win is worth $4-5M on the open market, and the Giants will save (according to Andrew Baggarly) $2-3M, thus a loss of more than $2M.
    There is also an increase in risk, as one player is more likely to totally tank than two.
    The real cost of this trade, however, is even worse. It is obvious that this will result in the benching of Belt. Bochy’s outfield will now be Schierholtz, Pagan and Cabrera and his 1B will be Huff, occasionally replaced by Posey.
    The Giants have now made three moves in the offseason and all three have been indefensible: the signing of two LOOGY’s at a total $10M per year rate, trading their 4th or 5th starter for a mediocre outfielder, and now this.
    Giants fans should strike. Don’t give them a penny until Baer, Sabean and Bochy are gone.

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    • DrBGiantsfan says:

      Pagan was a much better hitter than Torres last year. Torres’ superior WAR as mainly because Pagan had an uncharacteristic cratering of his UZR. Given the unreliability of UZR with a 1 season sample size, I would think it is more likely that Pagan’s defense bounces back than Torres’ offense.

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    • Those numbers work if you believe that Torres is going to revert back to his 2009-2010 form. He’s going to be 34 YO for next season, he’s the in nexus of where players fall off the face of the Earth because of age, so who knows what the Mets are going to get in 2012. He’s also trying to get his ADHD medication straightened out too, but given how bad he was from June to September, he looks like he’s still looking.

      Pagan, on the other hand, will only be 30 YO for 2012. He presumably will be healthy. He was hurt at least three different times in 2011, oblique, back spasms, then a head injury, which contributed to his performance issues. Assuming he’s healthy, you throw out the 0.9 and get a 2.9 or 5.5 season. I would take either. I would also add that in his 2.9 season, he barely played over half a season, so that was more like a 5-6 WAR caliber season in 2009, so he was at a very high level (5.5 is pretty high no matter what you want to call it; really, near-All-Star?) for two straight seasons when injuries took him off his game in 2011.

      And are you guaranteeing that Belt is going to hit? Because a lot of you thought he was last year but he didn’t, not until late in the season. What I saw was a hitter who couldn’t avoid the strikeout while facing AAA pitchers, so what hopes did he have of doing that in the majors?

      What I see is that Belt gets a chance to fix his mechanics and adjust in AAA and becomes a great insurance policy should Huff, Cabrera, Pagan, or Schierholtz fails to produce in the early part of 2012 (or get injured).

      Also, you call Affeldt a LOOGY, but the experts I read when he was a free agent the year the Giants signed him originally called him a cheap closer, that he has the skills to be a closer but you can pick him up for a reliever’s price. He’s been pretty good for three seasons for the Giants, 2.74 ERA, so I think that money is well spent.

      You call Melky a mediocre OF, Giants fans see an upgrade over what we got from the OF in LF or CF. His numbers you call mediocre, but his career numbers are basically the average for LF or CF in the NL in 2011. The Giants with their pitching can win 91 games with average offense (check out the Pythagorean). If he’s anything like his 2011 season, that’s a big bonus.

      Meanwhile, Jonathan Sanchez is a headcase and injury risk. One season he screwed up his mechanics into mid-season because he copied his idol, Johan Santana’s mechanics (which works for shorter Johan but not taller Jonathan), and it took the Giants benching him to get him to change. He threw his no-hitter right after that. Last season, he had something physically wrong that he refused to acknowledge, pitching a full month of horrible starts before admitting that something is wrong. Still, while Zito worked hard to return by the end of the season, even if only to relieve, Sanchez did not try hard to return, according to reports from our local scribes.

      I wish the Giants fans would strike the people who want to get rid of Sabean. Sabean has put together this core team that almost any other team would trade for in a heartbeat: Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Wilson, Romo, Posey, Sandoval, Belt, plus Brown, Panik, Hector Sanchez, Tommy Joseph, and Heath Hembree looking good, plus there is Andrew Susac as well. We have a core team that should dominate the NL for the rest of the 2010 decade, that’s why I’ve been saying for the past 3-4 years that the Giants will be the Team of the 2010′s.

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      • Husker says:

        Torres didn’t play much in 2009 either, because the Giants were too stupid to play him. (I admit Sabean made a good move in picking him up.)
        Half a dozen good players and some prospects doesn’t look like a team that will dominate for a decade. So far this decade, they made the playoffs once on the last game of the season, only because they play in the weakest division in baseball, and then tanked, only over .500 because they play in the weakest division in baseball.
        You make Polyanna look like a pessimist.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        LOL at the ‘Team of the 2010′s’. Every fan says the same thing about their team. If all of our prospects pan out and all of our veterans maintain their production, we’ll dominate!

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  17. “Robbed Sabean blind?”

    I don’t see how, most Giants fans know that the Giants were considering non-tendering Torres and that Ramirez was on the trading block already, so we see it as getting a player who had a down season due to injury but who should be healthy in 2011 for two players who were potential dead men walking, as far as being Giants in 2012.

    Perhaps Pagan isn’t the best fielder when looking at him, I will grant that. The Giants actually have experience with a player like that Fred Lewis. Looked horrible in the field, but all the advanced fielding stats says that he’s actually pretty good when you look at all he does in the field relative to other OF. Meaning he may make all the mistakes you see, but all the other stuff he does is so much better than other fielders that he’s actually above average. Based on those stats, he’s been good for half a win for his defense in CF (which will count for more with the Giants pitching staff reducing our run environment), so it’s not like he’ll be a slug out there.

    The difference for us Giants fans is that Pagan is 4 years younger (per BB-Ref’s ages), actually has more major league experience than Torres (and thus we have greater faith we will get a certain level of performance out of the player), has stolen a whole lot more bases than Torres, doesn’t strike out as much as Torres (which is more desirable in a leadoff guy), and we don’t have to hope that Torres gets his ADHD medication set correctly or not, as his dosage stopped working last season, and he was a mess for four months after a good April and May, for whatever combination of reasons he might have for that (he says he’s working with Juan Gonzalez on his hitting now, as if that was his only problem).

    Plus, he moves Melky to a corner OF spot, probably LF, but you never know how spring works out (or injuries) for Nate. And moves Melky out of the leadoff spot, though I would note that his career numbers there are great for OBP.

    I’m salivating over a lineup of Pagan, Cabrera, Huff, Posey, Sandoval, Franchez, Schierholtz, Crawford, that should be good enough for our pitching to win a lot of games in 2012, plus then we would have Belt as insurance in case of any injury or lack of performance from LF or 1B. And hopefully Belt can first figure out how not to strike out so much to AAA pitchers first, then work on major league pitchers.

    And I don’t see why it has to be seen as “being robbed blind”. I think both team benefits from the deal, it can be a true win-win deal. The Mets need a strong reliever and got him. As a kicker, Torres might revert to his 2010 form and really give them a great deal, but at minimum, got a great defensive OF with power and speed. However, there is a risk that maybe Torres was just really lucky in 2009-2010, and now he’s reverting back to the pumpkin he was before the Giants picked him up. Meanwhile, the Giants get an experienced player, where the odds are greater that he will perform to the level we want out of CF, plus he’s an accomplished base-stealer and good defensively as well.

    And I don’t think that the Giants are necessarily out of the Beltran race yet, so Alderson has not necessarily won the Beltran trade yet. I don’t think he would even consider the Giants if not for the trade. If the Giants do sign Beltran, the Phillies better watch out, the Giants could match up nicely in total wins.

    People think that the Giants are out of the Beltran race because of money. But per the facts existing now and then, the same payroll exists, that has not changed, so to me the only difference between then and now is not money, but the improvement in the Giants lineup. The Giants must have been thinking of breaking into their piggy bank to get Beltran back then, there was no other way they could have afforded him back then or now, and I see no reason why they can’t do it now either.

    I think it is really just a matter of years, whether another team is willing to give Beltran more than the two years plus team option that the Giants are probably willing to offer. The longer this takes, the better I like the Giants chances because that means that no team has stepped up with the years in the contract that Beltran was hoping for.

    And for now, we have won the deal, we got two good months of MLB hitting from Beltran, you have a minor league pitcher who struggled with his command in A-ball. You can gloat if/when Wheeler is an ace in your rotation.

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    • Husker says:

      The Giants were never in the Beltran race. He said he would only go there if they significantly improved the rest of the team. I don’t think he had Cabrera and Pagan in mind.

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      • Harmude says:

        No, that’s not what he said. His exact quote follows:
        Beltran left no doubt: It wouldn’t be enough for Giants management to pin hopes on re-signing him plus banking on and health and production from catcher Buster Posey(notes) and second baseman Freddy Sanchez(notes).

        “I would consider this organization for sure, because the pitching is unbelievable, and adding those guys back, of course you’re adding more offense to the ballclub,” Beltran said. [...]

        “But I believe there should be a little bit more than [Posey and Sanchez],” he said.

        They went out and got the leadoff centerfielder from his previous team whom he obviously knows. They also upgraded in Melky over Rowand, et al.

        No matter what the Giants say in the media (which is aimed at their industry as much as the fans), every move they have made is aimed at getting Beltran back. Given the lack of market that’s developed for Beltran and the fact that the one team with stated interest in him (Red Sox) has to fill in two rotation spots and other pieces with only $12M before hitting luxury threshold, I think the G’s are in great position to get him. He’s old now, he wants to win. Pitching wins WS.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        Who cares if he ‘knows’ Pagan? Beltran cares about winning; he doesn’t care about playing alongside someone just because he knows him.

        Maybe Melky will be decent this year, but he’s not the type of player that turns an awful offense into a decent offense.

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    • wily mo says:

      “how can you say you robbed us when we traded lincecum for ryan theriot? we were going to release lincecum if we couldn’t trade him”

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  18. Dave G says:

    If the Mets expect Torres to bat leadoff, that’s a big mistake. Ramirez is a nice pen addition, but Pagan is clearly the better all around CF at this point. I think you’ll see Pagan’s defense improve again, too. He deferred to Beltran a lot and was a better CF when Beltran was out injured.

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  19. Joe S says:

    “Unless Bruce Bochy remains as committed to benching Belt as he seemed last season”

    This is one of the most overstated, oversimplified anti-Bochy/Sabean sentiments that go around among the Sabean/Bochy haters.

    1. Belt made the team out of spring training and was inserted in the starting lineup.

    2. He was CLEARLY struggling (yes, I know, I know…small sample size). He also needed to get some more time in the outfield as Huff had to be moved to 1B.

    3. HERE’S THE CRITICAL POINT. What people forget is that Ross came off the DL on April 20, necessitating a roster move. Were the Giants going to;

    a. Cut playoff hero Ross and eat $6 million?
    b. Cut 7th place MVP finisher Huff and eat $20+ million
    c. Cut fan favorite and the force behind 2010 turnaround Pat Burrell?
    d. Cut Rowand and eat over $25 million?

    Here on December 7th we are all blessed with 20/20 hindsight and can say they should have cut Rowand or Burrell. However, we were only three weeks into the season when the decision had to be made. Rowand hit for over a .750 OPS in April so I’m sure the Giants were hoping he would keep it up so they could show case him for a trade and save a little $$ (even though they would still have to eat a lot.

    4. Belt plays about 5 weeks in AAA and gets called back up. He plays two games and injures his wrist. Was this somehow Bochy’s fault? Maybe if Bochy had been “committed to benching Belt”, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.

    5. After about 6-7 weeks injured, Belt gets called up July 19th and starts about half the games.

    6. He gets sent back down on August 4th to make room for DeRosa (questionably, I know).

    7. He gets called back up for good on August 13th. From that point forward the Giants have 42 games, meaning approx. 160 PAs if he plays full time. He gets 110 PAs the rest of the way. Assuming he might have sat against some tough lefties, thats probably 75% or more of possible PAs. Hardly a commitment to not playing him.

    Belt was given plenty of opportunity last year. He just didn’t take the bull by the horns. When you are in a pennant race, do you go with the guy with potential, or the guy who has done it before (Huff)? Yes, in hind sight Huff sucked, but most managers in a pennant race go with the veteran, bottom line.

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    • Shankbone says:

      Thanks for saying this. The Giants really screwed up not emphasizing “Belt is coming up for a cup of coffee”. That’s all that needed to be said. They were having delusions of Posey. Understandable, and it blew up in their face. Belt will have another crack at it next year. I hope they’re a bit clearer with him and the fans on whats happening, but I’m not going to hold my breath about it, the Giants are some stubborn greybeards.

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