Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Angel Pagan Trade Analysis

The winter meetings sure haven't been dull, there have been streams of rumors flying around and last night some big news regarding the Giants came out. The Giants and the Mets have for the second time in the last few months come to terms on a trade. The Mets send the Giants Angel Pagan in exchange for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez.

This one isn't quite the blockbuster that sent Carlos Beltran to the Giants in exchange for top prospect Zack Wheeler but it is still a pretty big move so lets take a look.

Pagan's value:

Angel Pagan has followed a similar career path to Torres except that he has done it while he was a few years younger. They play similar styles of baseball and they both are coming off down years with some question marks.

Pagan has a decent track record of success as a hitter posting wRC+ of 99, 120, 113 and 99 since 2008. He is a solid base runner with a good stolen base success rate for his career (78.5%) and rates well in the fangraphs base running metric being worth 6.7 runs for his career. The question mark around him is his defense, in 2010 UZR loved him and in 2011 UZR hated him.

That right there is one of the big drawbacks of the defensive metrics that we have, there is so much variation year to year it is hard to get an accurate gauge of what his true talent level is. If we take a look at the fans scouting reports done by Tom Tango we can get a decent idea of what his strengths and weaknesses are.

This is what I got looking at the last 3 seasons: he has excellent speed that is heightened with his good routes to the ball, he has good natural instincts and a good first step. His hands have been rated from good to poor so I guess we can split the difference and say average and maybe leaning towards below average because poor happened more recently. His biggest weakness is his arm which has rated below average consistently over the last few seasons but really took a hit last year.

The drop in his arm ratings could be associated with his oblique and back spasm injuries last year but that is really just speculation because I haven't seen anything linking it to it.

Overall I think that there is a good chance that with a full season of playing time that he could be worth as much as 3.5 wins above replacement with a decent offensive year and a bounce back in his defense. If he is used as a 4th outfielder that number will go down with less playing time but I would say it is a good chance that he is an above average player.

What they gave up:

The Giants gave up a Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez. It didn't look like Torres was coming back and while Ramirez is a valuable pitcher getting someone to replace him shouldn't be too difficult or costly as he was just the 3rd or 4th right handed option in the Giants bullpen.

Torres was not likely to come back to the Giants and even if he were it would have been in a reserve role as a 4th outfielder. If he played full time he had a good chance of being a 3 wins above replacement type of player but with the Giants he was destined to be a part time player.

As for Ramirez, he was a valuable cog in the bullpen but he was 3rd or 4th in line depending on how Casilla's control was doing. That meant he was pitching in lower leverage spots and so even if the guy that replaces him isn't as good he shouldn't see too many innings that are do or die. The likely replacements look to be Guillermo Mota, Heath Hembree or some over scrap heap kind of guy.

Overall the talent given up is probably a match with each team getting something that they want.


On paper this isn't a bad move at all. When you take a step back and look at the bigger picture it is more murky.

What does this do to Brandon Belt's playing time? (John Shea tweeted that the Giants are still leaning towards him at 1B with Huff going into the out field rotation)

Where will he play and where will he bat?

How much playing time and what will his role be?

Does this fit the bill for Beltran as getting a true lead off hitter? (probably doesn't matter because the team won't spend the money)

Once these questions are answered and the other pieces fall into place the picture will be more clear. At the very least the Giants made a lateral move that neither hurt nor helped the team and the rest depends on how they divvy up playing time which was always going to be a wild card.

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