The Baltimore Orioles are in search of a corner outfielder and one name comes to mind…
Ángel Pagán is his name. The 35-year old has a career slash line of .280/.330/.408. He has precisely the skill set that the Orioles need. Last season, he had a slash line of .277/.331/.418 with 12 homers and 15 steals in 543 plate appearances for the San Francisco Giants. He also has two World Series rings. Not bad.
In addition to this, according to Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com, he could be in an Orioles uniform next season:
Pagan’s definitely on the Orioles’ radar this offseason, and it’s because he could fit offensively, defensively and financially.
He’s not atop my wish list if money is no object, but he’s right there when reality sets in.
First, the head-shaking truth: Pagan turns 36 in July. He is no longer an elite outfielder. He’s definitely on the downside of his career. He doesn’t have a whole lot of pop and is usually good for one trip to the disabled list per season. He’s not Dexter Fowler Lite. He’s Dexter Fowler Old.
But the Orioles aren’t paying big bucks to fill their right-field hole. They aren’t paying big bucks to fill their leadoff hole. They aren’t paying big bucks to bring in someone with on-base capabilities. They aren’t paying big bucks for someone who can play each outfield position adequately, hit from both sides of the plate, steal some bases and put the ball in play.
If I am Dan Duquette, I would pull the trigger. Although, Pagán is an older player, he fits perfectly in an Orioles lineup that is in desperate need of a leadoff hitter. He had a .327 batting average as a leadoff hitter last season, but it was in a small sample size of 12 games. Luckily over his career, this number is still at a remarkable .293 in 461 games. In comparison, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, had a .282 batting average in 108 games last season in the one hole.
Jones was pretty good at leading off, but you’d prefer his bat to be in more of a run-producing role. Perhaps, Jones could move to the two hole, where he has a career batting average of .291. It isn’t a huge change for the long-time Oriole center fielder, but it could bode well for Baltimore.
His defensive capabilities in right field are an upgrade over Mark Trumbo, who struggled mightily in Camden Yards last season. Baltimore must be a better defensive ball club if they want to make it into the postseason. Mike Petriello of MLB.com explained why the Orioles should probably make some defensive upgrades.
Baltimore's OF defense ranks:
DRS — 30th (tied)
UZR — 30th
Fielding percentage — 1st!
This is your regular reminder that FP% is bad.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) November 30, 2016
These numbers are unacceptable for a team that prides itself on defense. Although both players are very good hitters, having Trumbo in right field and Hyun-Soo Kim in left field probably didn’t help the Orioles much of the season. Adding Pagán could ease the woes for the Orioles’ outfield. He had a UZR of 4.4 in 2016 with the Giants. In comparison, Kim had a UZR of -7.1 and Trumbo had one of 0.2.
As for the money, Pagán could possibly receive a deal that is similar to the one Jon Jay just received. Jay has received a 1-year/$8 million deal. Not too expensive. The only catch is that Jay will be a platoon outfielder against righties with Albert Almora, who will bat against lefties. If Pagán is to be the everyday starter in right field, which is pretty plausible, he would most likely receive more than Jay. I believe that Pagán will receive a 2-year deal in the $20-22 million range.