Giants trade Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez to Mets for Angel Pagan
It wasn’t Albert Pujols or even Jimmy Rollins-flashy, but the San Francisco Giants made their first splash in Dallas tonight when they sent outfielder Andres Torres and right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez to the New York Mets in exchange for switch-hitting outfielder Angel Pagan.
*** UPDATE 12/7/11 (12:34 p.m.) — The Mets will also throw in a player to be named later or cash, per the Giants’ website.
The deal, confirmed by Joel Sherman of the New York Post at the annual Winter Meetings, is pending physicals by all three players.
All three men are arbitration eligible.
Pagan batted .306/.350/.487 (0.837 OPS) with 6 HR and 32 RBI in 88 games in 2009 and batted .290/.340/.425 (0.765 OPS) with 11 HR and 69 RBI in 151 games in 2010, before slipping to .262/.322/.372 (0.694 OPS) with 7 HR and 56 RBI in 123 games last season. He stole 32 bases in 2011 and has 69 SBs over the past two years.
He was originally drafted by the Mets in the fourth round of the 1999 draft, but was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2006. Two years later, the two teams swapped him again.
Like Melky Cabrera (who the Giants acquired for Jonathan Sanchez last month), Pagan is entering a contract year. The 30-year old, who earned $3.5 million last season, will likely fetch between $4 million and $5 million through arbitration this winter.
Pagan has drawn a lot of comparisons to the switch-hitting Torres, but in my opinion, he’s an upgrade. He’s three years younger than Torres (33), and both players are speedy outfielders who strike out twice as often as they draw a walk. Pagan’s career average (.279) is about 30 points higher than Torres’ (.244). His on-base percentage (.331) is 13 points higher than Torres’ career .318 OBP. In 126 less games at the major league level, Pagan has 35 more steals and six more homers than Torres.
They are both considered solid defensive outfielders.
Torres came to San Francisco in 2009 and promptly put together an impressive error-less streak that stretched over two seasons. In fact, Torres has made just seven errors in 801 total chances over his career, an impressive .993 fielding percentage. His hustle and positive attitude helped cement a team of misfits and castoffs who thrived on each other’s unique personalities. As such, Torres (who was diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago) quickly became a fan favorite around the shores of McCovey Cove.
Pagan committed 10 errors in 2011 alone, and has 19 career miscues in 1,099 chances (.983 fielding percentage). But those numbers probably don’t tell the whole story.
Pagan finished the 2010 season with an NL-best 3.02 Range Factor per game (RF/G), a metric that is used by sabernerds to better determine a player’s worth on defense. Despite the 10 errors last year, Pagan still finished fourth among National League center fielders with a 2.54 RF/G rate.
The trade gives the Giants a bona fide leadoff hitter for the first time in many years. Pagan will likely be the everyday centerfielder. With Aubrey Huff slated to start in left, Cabrera will probably slide to right field, making Nate Schierholtz the Giants’ fourth outfielder. Of course, all of that could change with just one injury, which is why Giants GM Brian Sabean needed to make this deal. The Giants had their fair share of injuries in 2011.
Ramirez, 30, was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Giants in exchange for minor league pitcher Daniel Turpen in July 2010.
Like Torres, Ramirez became an integral piece to the Giants’ 2010 World Series championship run. When San Francisco acquired Ramirez at the trade deadline, he was 0-3 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.299 WHIP for the Sox. After the trade, he went 1-0 with a 0.67 ERA and 0.889 WHIP for the G-men. He was 3-3 with a 2.62 ERA, 1.165 WHIP, 8.7 SO/9 rate, and 3.4 BB/9 rate in 66 appearances last season.
The Giants probably made this deal for two reasons.
First, they need to shore up the holes in their lineup. Torres, as likable as he is as a human being, didn’t get it done last year at the plate and both he and Pagan could benefit from a change of scenery. Secondly, with Torres and Ramirez both in line for raises, the club will be able to shed a little payroll by moving them both for one player.
The Giants have not yet announced a corresponding move to their 40-man roster.
Still not convinced?
Watch this Pagan highlight video, from 2010 (courtesy Little Tree Media):