Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, posted comments Angel Pagan made this morning regarding the ongoing debate of who should start in centerfield.
“I was talking to Carlos Delgado this offseason. I told him, ‘It doesn’t matter to me. Sometimes people see this as a competition, as a rivalry. This is not a rivalry. This is for the benefit of the team. I see it as a great problem to have because we’re going to have two center fielders playing right next to each other. … If Carlos is healthy, he’ll be the center fielder. No doubt about that. I’m just looking forward to seeing him healthy. If Carlos is 100 percent, we all know what kind of damage he can do out there.”
Rubin adds how Angel Pagan revered Carlos Beltran when he was breaking into professional baseball. Pagan wants Beltran to claim the center field job with the Mets, even if that means he will be stationed in right field.
I think this whole centerfield controversy has been blown way out of proportion. Too many people are comparing an injured Beltran who had to play wearing a humongous brace on his knee to a healthier and younger Angel Pagan last season.
It’s a new year, and like Terry Collins has already said on numerous occasions, centerfield is Beltran’s job to lose – as it should be. Too many people with short memories have forgotten just how tremendous Beltran was defensively before the knee surgery. He was among the best defensive centerfielders in the game.
All these passionate pleas for Pagan to start are so over the top, and nobody even considers whether Beltran can even handle rightfield in the first place – a rightfield that is far more trickier to play than centerfield at Citi Field.
Playing rightfield at Citi Field is like being at an obstacle course and even Jeff Francoeur, who was an excellent rightfielder, once said it might be the most challenging rightfield he ever played in.
Beltran has been the good soldier and perfect teammate and has said he will do whatever the team wants him to do. But even if he had any hesitation, can you blame him after what happened to him and Mike Cameron in an outfield collision that nearly ended two careers? Back then it was Mike Cameron who had to move over to rightfield to make room for the younger Beltran, but there’s a danger to having to players with the instincts of a centerfielder playing side by side.
It’s spring training… everybody just relax and let this one play itself out…
Update: After I posted this I noticed Rubin actually had a podcast up of Pagan talking to reporters that you might like to hear. Click hear to board our magic carpet ride.