When it comes to signing a new deal for any player, more often than not you find two sides split on the said contract. There is the occasional signing where there is universal optimism or disgust, but for the most part, it’s usually split and the Giants’ deal with Angel Pagan is no different. Depending on who you ask, the Giants either did extremely well in their deal with Pagan or they got raked over the coals, so let’s check it out and see how the Giants did.
First off – let’s look at the figures of the deal. While we don’t have an official breakdown on the figures per year, what we do know is the the length of the overall deal and final price which is a 4 year, $40 million dollar deal. At first glance, it’s a pretty significant price as the $10 million annual salary makes Pagan only the second offensive talent on the Giants to average eight figures, the lone other being Hunter Pence who’s still on an arbitrational deal.
However, given the relatively thin market on outfielders during this free agent period (not to mention the always desirable leadoff hitter) the price to retain Pagan or find any similar talent was expected to be costly and given the deals handed out to other players similar to that of Pagan, it’s hard to think the Giants didn’t do well.
B.J. Upton, who signed a 5 year, $75.25 million dollar deal ($15+ million average11!!1!!!) with the Atlanta Braves hasn’t hit over .246 in the past four seasons (his highest average of those years coming this past season at .246) and has a history of struggling to get on base. The stolen bases and quality defense (at times) are a welcome addition, but for the price – it’s a tough deal to justify, especially when compared to the Giants nabbing Pagan for an annual salary of $5 million less a year – despite Upton being three plus years younger. The ceiling is certainly higher on Upton, but reaching that potential is a different story.
Another outfielder who expected to cash in (and did) was Shane Victorino, who tallied a 3 year, $39 million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox – good for an annual salary of $13 million a year. Like Upton, Victorino has struggled in recent years – hitting in the .255 between Philadelphia and Los Angeles last season along with a .259 average in 2010, sandwiching a solid 2011 campaign in which Victorino hit a respectable .279. Still, even with the abilities Victorino can bring to a team, they’re not up to the same par as Pagan who’s the same age, making $3 million less on average a season.
Both Upton and Victorinio haven’t had good recent histories, while Pagan, outside of a poor 2011 in New York, has had high quality seasons since 2008 and is signed to a lower annual salary and will complete his deal at age 35, playing out these four years in his prime.
Overall, it’s hard to hate the deal. Is it pricey? Without a doubt, but the market was thin and the prices for “similar” talent was sky high. Add in the Giants were able to keep speed and a solid bat in the leadoff position (not to mention a clubhouse favorite) – it’s a win/win all around.