Thumbs Up Or Thumbs Down: Angel Pagan

Who is Angel Pagan?

Is he the guy who was injury plagued over his first few seasons?  Is he the guy who won over the hearts of Mets fans from mid-2009 to the end of 2010 with all around great defense, speed, and clutch hitting.  Or is he the guy we saw this season with his base running blunders, poor offensive showing and misplayed balls in Center?  These are some of the questions Mets ownership will have to answer this off season.

2011 was a very weird season for Angel.

We saw the return of his inept play on the base baths that had us wondering two years ago if he could ever get it together.  At times you saw the flashes that made us think he was the Center Fielder of the future as he would make great running catches in center.  At other times he misplayed balls that flew over his head as he made a lackluster attempt to jump for it as it rolled to the wall.  His bat started out slowly and never really came around consistently.  His season was a mixture of fire and ice both offensively and defensively.  When he struggled his whole game was off, but when he was on he looked like the guy we saw the last two seasons.

Who’s Breathing Down His Neck?

The sad part is that there really is nobody in house to take his place.  The player who is closest to Major League ready is Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but he missed most of this past season due to injury.  A player such as Cesar Puello who is regarded as one of out top overall prospects in the system finished 2011 playing for Single-A St. Lucie.  His talent and skill set project as somone who could be on the fast track to the bigs, but at just 20 years of age, he is at best 2 years away from being the possible successor.

Angel’s Contract Situation

Pagan is a year away from Free Agency.  Going into this off season he is scheduled to enter his final year of arbitration.  This season he made 3.5 Million and that is bound to go up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-6 Million.

Potential Outside Replacements

Looking outside the organization at the crop of free agents does not get you very excited.  Aside from the potential of the injury plagued Grady Sizemore, who has a club option of 8.5M, Angel Pagan has more potential and a better skill set then what’s left.  I’m not sure about you but Coco Crisp, Rick Ankiel and Nate McLouth don’t get me very excited.

My Thoughts

If Pagan earns somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-6 Million that’s a bargain for what he gives you. The big question that the Mets need to answer is, what his future is with this team?  If they plan on keeping him around past next season, then they may want to negotiate an extension now and buy out his final year of arbitration.  If they don’t see a future past next season, do they explore a trade since he will be a Free Agent at the end of the season?  Do they just non-tender him all together? There is always the potential that Alderson is able to bring someone back in a trade.