Yesterday, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York was kind enough to answer a question for me during a chat which you can read in it’s entirety here.
Joe D. – If the Mets are looking for a center fielder, is it safe to say Angel Pagan will be non-tendered?
Adam Rubin - Team officials are definitely down on him. They feel like he’s a very solid backup who has now priced himself out of his optimal role. He made $3.5 million this past season and is arbitration-eligible, meaning he could be at $4.5 million or more in 2012 if they tendered him a contract. I would look for the Mets to shop Pagan over the next month and non-tender him on Dec. 12 if it came to that. That said, that means they have to go outside the organization for a center fielder. And when all is said and done, we’ll see what they can find. Grady Sizemore is the top center fielder, but his injury history and price probably scares them away. Coco Crisp had a low on-base percentage, and his agent told the San Francisco Chronicle he preferred the West Coast. There are reports the Rays may non-tender Upton. He and David Wright grew up together.
After a career spent mostly as a 4th outfielder, Pagan shined during extended plating time in 2010 while covering for injuries to Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran. So much so that he was looked upon as the new everyday center fielder supplanting Beltran in 2011. His game regressed both offensively and defensively.
Pagan has also let his struggles mess with his psyche in the dugout and his concentration on the field. The mental lapses on the base-paths or in the field were too glaring last season.
I’m pretty certain that the Mets will cut ties with Pagan, now 30, this Winter. These spend-thrifts that are now running the team will not pay him in excess of $5 million to platoon in center or revert back to a 4th outfielder role.
Look for the Mets to make a trade or sign a Coco Crisp or Rick Ankiel to replace Pagan. Not so much because these players are that much better, but they won’t have those lapses Pagan does and the Mets want to change some faces and give the team a different look.
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