As everyone surely knows by now, the Giants crossed two of their biggest wants off of their holiday wish list at this week’s Winter Meetings, as they resigned CF Angel Pagan and 2B Marco Scutaro to long-term deals. Here are some of my quick thoughts on these deals:
The deal for Angel Pagan, valued at 4 years and $40-million, seems a little too generous to me. I’m fine with the $10-million per year part, as the going market for center fielders shot through the roof this offseason (Victorino got 3/$39!!!!). I have a very bad feeling that the 4th year (maybe the 3rd year as well) of this deal is going to be deadful. Pagan will be entering the 4th year of this deal in a year in which he will be turning 35 years old, while making $10-million dollars. In the last 3 years, the only regular CF who was at age 34+ was the 8-time Gold Glover, Torii Hunter. Pagan is nowhere close to the center fielder that Hunter was at 31-years old, so it is hard to imagine him being even a league-average CF for much more than the next 2 seasons. In fact, Pagan had a -6 Runs Saved last season, suggesting that he was slightly below average in CF, a figure that will certainly only get worse as he ages.
Pagan does offer a nice fit at the top of the Giants lineup as a spark plug, and is a perfect fit for AT&T park offensively being a gap hitter with plus speed. As long as he sticks in CF, he will be a definite asset to the club. However, history shows that speed guys don’t age very well into their 30′s, so Pagan could end up as a left fielder or platoon guy for the second half of the deal, greatly diminishing his offensive value to the club.
Perhaps the Giants had to offer him 4 years to retain him, and maybe they aren’t as hot on CF prospect, Gary Brown, as they were just a year ago, but I think part of this overly long contract still is due to the Giants dropping the ball. They really should have made Pagan the 1 year, $13.3-million dollar qualifying offer when they had the chance. He was known to be seeking his final long-term deal of his career, in the range of 4 to 5 years, so there is no way he would have taken the 1-year offer from the Giants coming off such a huge year. By presenting the qualifying offer, the Giants would have then received the signing team’s first unprotected pick, and a sandwich round pick, should Pagan had signed a deal elsewhere. This alone would have scared off a couple of his suitors, or at least made them less aggressive, as teams have recently become more inclined to keep their draft picks and build within. I think by doing this, they could have probably gotten him on a 3-year deal around the same money per year.
The Marco Scutaro signing for 3 years/$20-million has some risk as well, as Scutaro will be turning 40 at the end of the third and final year of the deal. I would have liked them to get him at 2 years with perhaps a club option for the 3rd, but after the Cardinals and Yankees got in the bidding, they needed to up the offer to include the 3rd year guaranteed. Coming off a mind-boggling 2-month stint, where Scutaro hit .362/.385/.473 for the Giants, he has proven that he has a lot left in the tank, and his contact rate (best in the majors last year) is something that the Giants love. I could see Scutaro hitting in the .280-.300 range the next year or two, and at least being a serviceable utility guy in the final year of his deal. This signing was also seen as a necessity as the Giants have little second base depth in the minors. Charlie Culberson was traded last year (for Scutaro), Nick Noonan does not look like starting material, Brock Bond has hands made of iron, and Joe Panik looks to be more of a utility type guy.
Bottom line is, while the Giants probably went a year too long on both guys, if they win one more World Series during the next 3-4 years, these deals will be worth every penny and more.
Let me know your thoughts on these deals in the comments section.