This afternoon, Mike Francesa of WFAN essentially said the Mets should consider trading Angel Pagan this winter because he doesn’t want to play right field, and his value is high right now.
I don’t necessarily disagree with Francesa about trading Pagan. I recall Jerry Manuel saying repeatedly during his press conferences that he had to speak to both Pagan and Jeff Francoeur about being in a platoon situation upon Carlos Beltran’s return, saying neither was happy about the situation. Obviously, the decision to make Francoeur a part time player was clear, but to me, it was also clear that not only did Pagan deserve to be a regular player, which he ultimately became anyway in right field, but he was better suited for center field over Beltran the entire second half, and the team might have performed better with a more mobile center fielder.
I’m not knocking Beltran, nor am I blaming him at all – I’ve said for a long time he’s very under-appreciated and when healthy, he is one of the best center fielders in the game. However, he clearly was not at his best physically upon returning from the disabled list and showed limitations in his range that Pagan simply didn’t have, and I think the team suffered as a result. As much as I like Beltran, I think that was a fair observation. Ideally, I’d like to see Pagan in center field and Beltran in right field in 2011, but there is no way to know if Beltran would entertain such a move.
It’s not that I want the Mets to trade Pagan either – I like him and I think he made some big strides this past season, getting past a lot of his mental problems and he became a very good all-around player. However, it’s not good for the team, the organization, or the player himself to try and make someone into something he isn’t, doesn’t want to be, or both.
Nevertheless, if the Mets intend to keep Beltran, and keep Beltran in center field, AND make Pagan the everyday right fielder even though his talents are probably not being maximized there, and it’s ultimately not what Pagan might want, then maybe the Mets should explore moving Pagan this winter, while his value is high.
Pagan hit .290 with 11 home runs and 69 RBI with a .340 on-base percentage in 151 games in 2010, but hit just .263 with five home runs and 29 RBI in 281 at bats after Beltran returned from the disabled list.