Angel Pagan does not stand out amongst former members of the New York Mets. He played in New York from 2008 to 2011 but was not awarded significant at-bats until 2010, a season in which he averaged .290 with 11 home runs, 37 stolen bases and 69 RBIs. His productivity declined in 2011 with a .262 average, seven home runs, 32 stolen bases and 56 RBIs.
Pagan, a center fielder, was due $4.85 million in arbitration this season. But the Mets lost faith in him and chose to send him to the San Francisco Giants late last year. They also lost speed and on-base percentage. As of July 16 he is averaging .281 with five home runs, 17 stolen bases and 34 RBIs, on pace to at least match his 2010 numbers.
In return for Pagan the Mets received Andres Torres, who as of July 23 is averaging .222 with just one home run, nine stolen bases and 24 RBIs. He is a downgrade. Pagan is succeeding in San Francisco while Torres has been stuck in a slump most of the season, showing little evidence that he is consistent enough to be a mainstay at the top of the lineup. Ike Davis averages .207 but he has produced 14 home runs and 54 RBIs.
Torres is speedy around the bags but it means nothing if he cannot reach base. He puts up far too many blanks in box scores. Losing Pagan, who at times hit leadoff over the past two seasons, doused the spark the Mets once had. Torres is an easy out. He is far more agile in center field than Pagan, but it does not compensate for his meager offensive production.
At least the Giants also threw in right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez. That could have made the trade worthwhile if he was able to throw a strike. He is one for three in save opportunities (hopefully the Mets don’t call on him for a save ever again) and holds a ballooning ERA of 4.58. Even more telling is the unintentional 20 walks he issued in just 39.1 innings pitched. Just last year in San Francisco he threw 68.2 innings on the season and walked 26 batters, a less alarming ratio.
As the Mets drop below .500 it would be unfair to say Pagan would have kept the Mets in playoff contention, but would the team be this near the edge of the cliff? Nobody knows for certain, but general manager Sandy Alderson sure got the short end of the stick in that trade.