Andy Martino of the Daily News sheds some light on some of the circumstances that may have led to the Angel Pagan trade last off season.
Apparently the former Met was plagued with with bouts of depression after taking over the center field job from Carlos Beltran and then getting off to a slow start at the plate, batting .159 in April.
Things got worse as injuries and a chronic medical condition only added to what had become an overall malaise that had taken over the gifted center fielder.
Happy and chatty during a breakout season in 2010, Pagan wore headphones and a scowl during most of his time in the clubhouse the next year, often sitting at his locker and staring at an iPad instead of interacting with teammates. Those teammates noticed, and many were aggravated on July 24, when Pagan left a game in Miami with what he called dehydration.
“He’s ( f——) soft,” one player said that day – which might have been unfair, but was the internal opinion at the time.
Martino adds that during that game in August when Pagan was due up and he was nowhere to be found, he was actually in the bathroom after his colitis had acted up in the last inning, causing him to have an accident while in the field.
“Angel isn’t a bad guy, but we needed to move him,” said one Mets official this week, knowing that Pagan enjoyed a competent year in center field for the National League West champion Giants, batting .288 with a .338 on-base percentage and eight home runs – and that Torres, the outfielder the Mets received for Pagan, batted .230 in 132 games. Reliever Ramon Ramirez, the final component of the deal, was even worse.
As for the trade, Martino explains how it went down:
The Mets had long been contemplating non-tendering Pagan , which would have ended his stay with them, while yielding no return. So when San Francisco GM Brian Sabean entered the Mets’ suite at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas during last year’s winter meetings and said he was ready to deal – well, Sandy Alderson was ready, too.
Looks like a change of scenery was the best thing for Angel, and that he has found his way back to being the player we all saw and loved in 2009 and 2010. Depression is a terrible thing and from seeing it effect some in my own family, I can tell you it has a way of leading to other more serious medical conditions. I’m glad to hear he’s doing better and that he’s been healthy all season.
Pagan expressed shock when he first learned that he had been traded. But it now looks like it was the best thing that could of happened for him. And for the Giants too.
As I’m writing this, Pagan just lined his second double of the game and then scored the Giants’ seventh run in a game one rout over the Tigers. That’s the Angel Pagan I’ll remember.