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Angel Pagan Rumors
The free agent market for center fielders is strong this year, with regulars Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton, Angel Pagan, and Shane Victorino currently unsigned. MLBTR readers narrowly prefer Bourn to Upton, but both figure to receive five-year contracts in excess of $65MM. Hamilton is in a class by himself, leaving Pagan and Victorino as more reasonably-priced options.
Pagan, 31, went from a non-tender candidate a year ago to whipping up Doritos Locos at Taco Bell for adoring fans last month (the latter is generally seen as a good thing). Rival agents may attempt to take Pagan down a peg for a relatively short resume, but only one of his last four seasons was subpar (2011). Pagan is above-average in all aspects of the game, from offense to defense to baserunning. Prior to the World Series exposure he was good in kind of a sneaky way, but the sum total is a player potentially worth five wins above replacement. There's a vibe that his superb timing may result in a contract worth $10-12MM annually over three or four years. It's plausible that someone stretches and adds a fifth year.
Victorino, 32 later this month, is another late-blooming switch-hitter. His success as a big league regular dates back to 2006, however. Compared to Pagan, Victorino had the opposite walk-year effect. His stock took a hit due to struggles against right-handed pitching and an unimpressive final two months after a trade to the Dodgers. The term of his next contract seems likely to be shorter than Pagan's despite their similarity in age. Pagan bounced back after an ugly 2011; there's no reason Victorino can't do the same next year. And keep in mind that even with the down offensive year, Victorino's ability to play a credible center field still made him worth three wins above replacement in 2012.
Pagan and Victorino are overachievers, in that both were discarded by multiple teams and took a while to establish themselves as regulars. Now both are on the free agent market, and their career trajectories might not be as different as you think.
Here's the latest from around baseball as we head into the weekend…
- Hiroki Kuroda has told friends that his preference is to pitch in southern California to be near his daughters' grade school, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. Saxon speculates this could make the Dodgers and Angels the favorites for Kuroda's services, with the Dodgers having the "presumptive edge" with Kuroda due to their past history.
- Angel Pagan could sign before the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Pagan's suitors include "many of the same clubs" who are interested in fellow free agent B.J. Upton, a market that includes the Phillies, Braves and Nationals. The Giants are also in the mix to bring Pagan back to San Francisco.
- Also from Rosenthal, the Marlins made verbal promises to Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle that neither would be traded when Miami was courting the two as free agents last winter. The promises were made in place of formal no-trade clauses, which the Marlins don't hand out as a matter of club policy. Reyes and Buehrle, of course, were traded to the Blue Jays on Tuesday as part of the big 12-player deal that has yet to be officially confirmed by the league.
- Right-hander Ramon Ramirez will no longer be represented by the ACES agency, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Ramirez is the latest of several players to recently switch from ACES, which may be due to MLB's ongoing investigation of the agency for its alleged role in the Melky Cabrera fake website scandal, though the players' union cleared ACES earlier this month.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten discussed such topics as his plans for the club's minor league system, his career history and MLB labor issues with Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels talked with Michael Moye (Josh Hamilton's agent) earlier this week, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, though it seems as if both sides were just checking in on the other.
- The Blue Jays have generated the most headlines of any team this offseason, but FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi notes some of the holes the Jays still have to fill.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter…
- The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan. Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
- Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria. Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
- The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said. The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players." The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
- Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped. "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
- The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract. "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.” Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke with agents and rival executives about where Josh Hamilton might land and the Nationals, Phillies, Mariners, and Orioles often came up in conversation. The Phillies would appear to be a stretch for both financial and baseball reasons, but two industry sources say the club is quietly checking in on him. It was reported earlier this week that the O's are targeting Hamilton but Rosenthal would be surprised if owner Peter Angelos, who emphasizes that his GMs find him players with a history of good conduct, can be talked into it. Here's more from Rosenthal..
- The Brewers are discussing a new deal with first baseman/right fielder Corey Hart. The 30-year-old is seeking a three-year extension but the Brewers might prefer to give him two more years while increasing his 2013 salary. Hart is under contract for one more season at $10MM.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean expressed confidence that the team would re-sign free agents Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Affeldt. Meanwhile, sources say that other teams are more aggressive than the Giants on Pagan right now.
- It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Indians trade Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Perez, and Justin Masterson, all of whom have two or fewer years of control remaining. However, catcher/first baseman Carlos Santana, signed for four more years, is more likely to stay.
- "We're not going to do that," said Beane to MLB.com's Lyle Spencer when asked if the Athletics will trade one of their starting pitchers for a shortstop. "In years we've been successful, it's because we've had good young pitchers."
- Giants GM Brian Sabean confirmed to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that the team will tender a contract to Hunter Pence prior to the November 30th deadline. With a projected salary of $13.8MM, Pence will be this winter's most expensive arbitration case.
- Sabean also told Crasnick that the Giants are "actively working" to re-sign Angel Pagan, Jeremy Affeldt, and Marco Scutaro. He said he's "optimistic" about all three but declined to go into detail about the talks.
MLB executives expressed surprise that Torii Hunter, Edwin Jackson, Angel Pagan and Mike Napoli didn’t get qualifying offers by Friday’s deadline, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. Here are more notes and rumors from Olney…
- One high-ranking executive suggested Hunter will get some two or three-year offers as a free agent. The outfielder ranked 20th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents.
- Evaluators were puzzled by the Nationals’ decision not to make Jackson a qualifying offer. An offer would have set them up for draft pick compensation or another affordable one-year deal.
- GMs and agents expect Pagan to get multiple offers for three years. A four or five-year deal doesn’t seem out of reach for the center fielder.
- Some rival officials expected the Rangers to make Napoli a one-year qualifying offer and set themselves up for draft pick compensation.
- Brad Ausmus, one of the top managerial prospects in MLB, told Olney that it’s important for managers to remember how difficult it is to play at the highest level. “The managers who understood the patience involved are the managers who have related to the players best on teams I have been a part of, and garnered their respect,” Ausmus said.
- The Padres have had some extension talks with Chase Headley, Olney reports. While both sides are interested in a deal, it’s hard to value Headley following his impressive second half performance.
- The Padres will focus on adding starting pitching this offseason, Olney reports. Rival executives like San Diego’s pitching depth, but GM Josh Byrnes will still pursue additions.
The Giants don't plan on making qualifying offers to Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Affeldt or Angel Pagan by tomorrow's deadline, reports Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that Pagan would get a qualifying offer (a one-year, $13.3MM contract) that would ultimately be rejected by the outfielder as he will no doubt receive multiyear offers on the open market. Without a qualifying offer, Pagan can sign elsewhere and the Giants wouldn't receive any draft picks as compensation.
Here's some more news from around the NL West…
- The Giants want to bring back all three players, though Baggarly reports that team officials "are less confident about their ability to" re-sign Pagan given how much interest the outfielder is likely to get from other teams.
- Scutaro, Affeldt and Pagan all want to return to the Giants, though Affeldt specified that he's looking for a multiyear contract, writes Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Giants are talking to the agents of the three players to see if a deal can be struck before the end of the team's exclusive negotiating period, tweets Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. None of the deals are close and Schulman predicts that Pagan will test the market, while Scutaro is the player with the best chance to re-sign quickly.
- Walt Weiss, Jason Giambi and Matt Williams will all meet with Rockies owner Dick Monfort and GM Dan O'Dowd, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. These three and Tom Runnells (who has already met with management) appear to be the final candidates to be the next Rockies manager. (Both links are to Twitter).
- The Rockies are unlikely to pick a new manager by the end of the week, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding, as O'Dowd is currently out of town and will then be attending next week's GM meetings.
- The Astros have claimed right-hander Sam Demel and infielder Jake Elmore off waivers from the Diamondbacks, according to an Astros media release. Demel, who came to Arizona in the 2010 trade that sent Conor Jackson to Oakland, has a 4.95 ERA in 72 relief appearances for the Snakes since 2010, with a 1.85 K/BB ratio and 48 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings. Elmore, 25, was a 34th-round pick of the D'Backs in 2008 who made his Major League debut this season, posting a .497 OPS in 73 plate appearances.
- In news from earlier today, the Giants declined their 2013 option on Aubrey Huff and I posted a collection of Diamondbacks notes.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean has the makings of a dynasty centered around strong pitching and affordable young position players such as Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Here are some links surrounding the team that captured its second World Series title in three years last night…
- The Giants will decline their $10MM club option on Aubrey Huff, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area. The news isn't much of a surprise given Huff's injuries and struggles at the plate since 2010. Huff's contract contains a $2MM buyout.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez spoke to several members of the Giants organization about the impact that Marco Scutaro had on the team following his acquisition from the Rockies.
- Gonzalez's colleague, Chris Haft, writes that the Giants and Scutaro will "likely forge a deal" this offseason, as the 37-year-old is too valuable both on and off the field to let go.
- Haft also writes that Angel Pagan is expected to receive a multi-year contract with an average annual value perhaps in the $10MM range in a thin free agent market. Sabean will need to determine if Pagan is worth that to his team.
- Haft goes on to say that Jeremy Affeldt could be in line for a multi-year deal on the free agent market. That, along with the presence of Jose Mijares could mean that Affeldt will find himself wearing a new uniform come 2013.
The Orioles drew first blood in their big four-game series with the Yankees, slugging six homers en route to a 10-6 victory. Mark Reynolds hit two home runs, and has now enjoyed three multi-homer games against New York within the span of a week. Baltimore is now tied with the Yankees atop the AL East.
Here's some news from around baseball…
- If Lance Berkman retires, he tells Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports Houston that he intends to finish his degree at Rice and be an assistant coach for the school's baseball team. Berkman said he is still leaning towards retirement but is focused on the Cardinals right now and will save a final decision under the offseason.
- Between Bryce Harper's play in center field and new leadoff hitter Jayson Werth's performance (a 1.014 OPS in 14 games as the leadoff man entering tonight's action), Amanda Comak of the Washington Times wonders if the Nationals may not need to focus on these long-time problems areas this offseason.
- The Royals should re-sign Jeremy Guthrie to a two-year, $15MM contract and non-tender Luke Hochevar, opines Rany Jazayerli of Rany On The Royals. Jazayerli believes Guthrie would pitch well in the AL Central while Hochevar hasn't been able to translate his decent advanced metrics into on-the-field success.
- Fangraphs' Dave Cameron cites Angel Pagan as "the most underrated player in baseball." Pagan has a .284/.336/.430 line with eight homers, 78 runs scored and 23 steals for the Giants this season. He is also a free agent this winter, and compares well with bigger-name free agent center fielders like Michael Bourn or B.J. Upton.
- Players and owners aren't close to a decision about limiting September roster sizes, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. We heard earlier this week that MLB was looking to change the rules for next season, but Rosenthal reports that since different teams deal with the September rosters in different ways, some clubs aren't willing to commit to the players' demands for minimum number of active roster spots for each game.
The Blue Jays designated Edwin Encarnacion for assignment on this date two years ago, and he cleared waivers two days later once the 29 other MLB teams had passed on him. Encarnacion now has 20 homers and a .283/.351/.574 slash line, so he's making a strong case for inclusion in next month's All-Star Game. Here are today’s links…
- The Rockies would have to be overwhelmed to trade Rafael Betancourt or Matt Belisle, so deals are highly unlikely, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). Teams don't generally view the Rockies as a team with lots of assets to trade, according to Olney.
- The Mets are going to wait a few weeks before "digging into" the trade market, Olney tweets.
- GM Brian Sabean told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the Giants identified Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan as trade targets this past offseason because, in spite of their flaws, they’re both impact MLB players. “We're talking about switch-hitters who can hit almost anywhere in the lineup, play all three outfield positions and help you on both sides of the ball. There's a lot to like," Sabean said. Check out Crasnick’s piece for a detailed look at how the Giants scouted and built their new-look outfield.
- The Blue Jays have been telling teams they can’t take on any salary, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).