Monday, December 03, 2012

Giant Sign Pagan: 4 years, $40M

Reports from Baggarly, Pavlovic, and Shea.  As usual, won't be official until the physical is done, but that is generally a formality.

Baggarly claims CSNBA first call on reporting the year-by-year breakdown (Shea nor Pavlovic did not acknowledge this though):  four years, $5M bonus, $7M in 2013, $9M in 2014, $9M in 2015, and $10M in 2016.  Apparently his lack of prior full-season experience scared off some teams, leaving just the rumored Phillies and Giants making offers to Angel Pagan, and when the Phillies would not commit to a fifth year, he accepted the Giants offer (no word on any salary difference between the two teams, but the Sporting News stated that they gave the Giants a small discount).

Reportedly, there were a number of factors in this decision.  Part of the factors influencing the Giants decision to go to four years (it had been thought that the Giants would only go three years) was that CF Gary Brown was no longer considered on the fast track to reach the majors.  Another part was the Giants preference to keep the cohesion and chemistry that led the Giants to set history with winning six playoff elimination games to reach the World Series, then sweeping to win the Championship.  The Giants also wanted a full-time starting OF, as Blanco is viewed as a platoon type player.

Pavlovic warned that the "timing of this is a bit of a surprise, so we'll see if anything else comes down the pipe later tonight."

Next up:  signing Marco Scutaro.

ogc thoughts

He said he loved playing for the Giants and he ended up staying (perhaps for a little less), despite his wife warning on Twitter that this would be a business decision, so don't hate on them.  This is a good price for Pagan, one year more than I was hoping for, but this keeps a key contributor in Pagan around for 2013 and I think it allows the Giants to let Blanco, Kieschnick, and Peguero (and perhaps Brown despite the concern above) battle for an OF spot.

I would not be surprised if the Giants also sign a right-handed LF like Hairston or even Cody Ross, to compete and most probably end in a platoon with Blanco in LF.   Reportedly, the Giants are interested in Hairston, but so are a lot of other teams.  He only got $1.1M last season, but I can see him getting more than that and for multiple years given how well he has hit the past two seasons, particularly for power.  The Giants also might pay more just to get him away from an NL West team, as he has killed the team in the past, though it should be noted that he has not hit well in AT&T in his career.

He has also played CF OK defensively, so he could see some time there and in LF where he has played well defensively there.  He probably is the ideal guy to platoon with Blanco, as Ross would probably still want more money as well as more playing time.  But he grew up in Arizona, so he might not want to join the Giants - if the offers were basically even - given that he probably grew up a D-backs fan.

And the funny thing is that Pagan was viewed as the one harder to sign and yet he ended up signing first between him and Scutaro.  Most whispers have said that Scutaro is expected to end up with the Giants, whereas Pagan was reportedly pursued by many teams.

I have to think that Pagan and/or his agent knew that Sabean do not like waiting so long with uncertainty in their lineup, given how quickly this deal went down after Sabean on Friday stating how the two sides were still far apart.  He appeared to know that if he wanted to stay with the Giants, they would need to wrap it up by the Winter Meetings.  Given how quickly he signed after Sabean reported on Friday that while the Giants felt good about their negotiations with Pagan and Scutaro, they were not close and thus the Giants had made backup plans to move forward without either of them, I have to think that got Pagan to move faster to sign.   He didn't want his deal with the Giants suddenly disappearing, like LaRoche found in 2010 when his 3 year, $21M deal that he thought he was negotiating with the Giants was taken off the table once they signed Huff.

That is how one should negotiate:  be aware of everything that you want to get out of your negotiations and be sure to move quickly when you could lose a deal that you are satisfied with.  After all this, I think it is clear that Pagan did truly value playing on the Giants, as he stated frequently during the 2012 season, it was not B.S., like it was with, say, David Bell, who told Giants fans not to worry about opting out of his contract and then took a reportedly lesser contract to sign with the Phillies.  He did appear to leverage out one more year out of the Giants but that's free agency for you, with supply and demand driving the process.

Good Deal, Could be Great

I'm happy with the deal, it was a fair annual salary, and while I worry a little about the four year, I think that he'll be a fair deal over the life of the contract, as he averaged 3.4 WAR over the past three seasons and the going rate for free agents per WAR is roughly $4.5-5.0M, so the Giants are paying him at a 2.0 WAR production rate, if you are into such calculations (I'm still uneasy with such analysis, because of the uncertainty regarding defensive value metrics, but wanted to cover this angle for another perspective on the deal).

I feel pretty confident that he will produce somewhere around the .281/.334/.415/.749 batting line he has produced over the past three seasons.  That is a .317 BABIP, which he has easily beaten in three of the past four seasons.  He has also averaged 33 SB per season and a 81% SB success rate is very good, hopefully he can teach Brown a thing or two in spring training, and pass some tips to Blanco as well.

As much as people might complain about that batting line, that was actually great for a leadoff hitter in the NL in 2012:  the average batting line was .257/.319/.382/.700.  And the Giants, with roughly that batting line for 2012 (.263/.335/.424/.758) was second in the NL in OPS and clearly much higher in OPS.  They were also 5th in OBP (out of 16 teams, so in the top third).   And our hitters drove in the leadoff guy a lot, as the Giants led the NL with 120 runs from that position, and second was Arizona with 108, third Brewers with 104.

He's also OK for NL CF, where the average was .264/.332/.408/.741.  The Giants overall had a .277/.333/.423/.756 from CF, which was good for 6th in the NL in OPS and 8th in OBP, smack in the middle.  While I like looking at positional comparisons like this, I think the more important point is how well that hitter fits into your team's batting order.  And at leadoff, Pagan was great in 2012 and if he just continues his average from the prior three seasons (which was hurt by his poor season in 2011, which he feels was a fluke because he was out of shape) he should be great for us at leadoff as long as he hits at least that much, which is a lower threshold than what he hit in 2012 or 2010.

Defensively, he wasn't that great in CF, according to DRS he was a -6 for the season.  That was better than 2011 but much worse than 2010 when he was very positive.  His UZR was basically average for 2012, though, but still a sharp drop over his 2010 season while a huge improvement over his 2011.  If he just can be average defensively or just under, he'll be fine hitting what he has hit over the past three seasons.  If he can return to the defensive goodness he was before 2011, he would be a great bargain in production.  If he returns to how badly he defended in 2011, when he was admittedly out of shape, then his hitting would not cover his poor defense at all.

Overall, he's a good deal even for what he produced on average between 2010 and 2012.  Those three seasons were pretty good for a leadoff hitter, balanced by relatively poor defense.  If his 2010 and 2012 seasons is the range that he can produce going forward, that's a pretty good deal for the Giants.  If he can return to his great defense prior to 2011, that's a pretty good deal for the Giants.  As long as he's not extremely bad defensively for the Giants, he's a pretty good deal for the Giants, even if he ends up having to move to LF to make space for Brown in CF, where he has played GREAT defense there previously, RF too.

Pence and Posey

Speaking of RF, I should note that in previous Sabean interview last week, when he was asked if the Giants had discussed a long-term deal with Hunter Pence this off-season, he said "not necessarily."  I guess that they want to see more out of him in 2013 before committing to him long-term.  Or perhaps they are waiting to see how the budget looks after signing other players.

However, Sabean did say that the Giants have been talking about a long-term deal with Buster Posey and are "open to the idea."  Which is great news heading into their first arbitration session with Posey, who is a Super-Two eligible.  After recent big long-term deals with Wright and Longoria, that should set a precedence for Posey's signing.  Maybe something like $6M for 2013, $8M for 2014, $12M for 2015, $15M for 2016, and something in the $15-20M range for his free agent years, that's $41M to cover his arbitration years, then let's say, $16/$17/$18, for a 7 year contract for $92M.  Add an $8M buyout for an 8th season, or $20M salary, and that gives him a 7 year contract for $100M.

Last notes:  Lincecum is reportedly working with the trainers on a fitness plan for this off-season that will be the happy medium between his too much lost in the last off-season and his too much gained in the prior off-season.  Also, the Giants are open to signing Casilla to a multi-year extension.


  1. Nice assessment OGC.

    I kind of view this as an anchor signing. A little like how I saw the Cain signing. The Giants have a piece to build around, and do not have to be reactive when filling OF positions. They needed something like that considering the farm's poor record producing OFs. Didn't break the bank. Takes the pressure off of Brown, whose future is far from certain. And lets the Giants wait on Pence, see how he does next year.

    Ideal was 2 years. Realistic is 3. Sounds like the Phillies forced a 4th year. OK.

    And, even though he and Victorino are more or less the same guy, and we probably could have had Victorino at 3 years for less money, I don't like him.

    So, good for the G's. Good for Pagan.

    1. Great analysis Kelly. I like the Anchor term. Even though the 4th year would have been nicer as an option, the overall annual is pretty do-able for a big market team. We are straying into Randy Winn territory here, hopefully Pagan can keep up his production, but these are the types of players we can hope someday soon we'll develop. Tweeners, gap hitting power, speed guys. Pagan has a couple of things that I think are special - he can play CF, he has a good arm, and he is a great basestealer (his ratio, avoiding the CS). I enjoyed how he caught fire, and if you throw out his injury riddled Mets 2011, he looks a lot stronger.

      Glad they didn't have to settle/make a deal with Victorino as well. That would have bummed me out. Irrational, maybe, but Shane is a dirty player, and there is no love lost with Giants fans. Maybe he puts on the laundry it would change, but maybe not. it didn't for me with Benitez.

      Anyways, glad to have Pagan, and i like the anchor the position, build out from there concept.

    2. Yes, great analysis, it's true, Pagan is now the anchor of the outfield that supports future moves in the OF, while not paying crazy money, this was a very fair deal overall and gives the Giants more time to evaluate other players better.

  2. This is good. I was very relieved to see the $$. Not my money of course, but when I saw the headline my first thought was oh no, they paid him $13m per. $10M seems reasonable.

    Have read some less-than-enthusiastic reports on Brown but a bit spooky to have them confirmed a tad more officially. Then again, "can't-miss" gets thrown around too easily, when it's actually fairly rare that that plays out perfectly.

    I kinda agree with waiting on Pence. His price will go up by waiting a year, but yet, maybe not - he strikes me as being ridiculously consistent over a season. That cuts both ways - dependable but lower ceiling. Probably smart.


    1. The thing is that Brown isn't a for sure prospect, not on par with Posey, Belt, Bumgarner. He has his flaws, which is understandable for a back of the first round draft pick, heck, for any draft pick. It is just that people see "Brown, #1 prospect for the Giants per BA" and they react to that #1 handle, not that he's #1 in the depleted Giants farm system.

      A better view into his talent level is that he was in the bottom quartile of the Top 100 prospects lists that BA and BP put out there. Prospects down there have a lot of flaws, so you expect to get some downs to go with the ups.

      I still see Brown as a can't miss, but more like a 2 WAR can't miss, not the 4-8 WAR can't miss that most people think of. He's always been good about getting on base, and figuring his way to achieving that at each level he has played at. And you have to have some hitting talent to dominate in a big college conference like the Big West, to the point where the only players who hit that well were Evan Longoria and Kurt Suzuki. Obviously, he's more Suzuki than Longoria, but we are not looking for Brown to be a Longoria, a Suzuki would be very valuable to have in CF with his great defense and speed. Hopefully he can learn how to actually steal bases one day, but still, if he can get on base a lot, that speed will still manifest itself in creating runs.

    2. I guess I should repeat that I would like to see the Giants sign Pence to a long term deal, I think that he has been too good a player for too long not to be good for the Giants.

      However, one thing that has bothered me is that he's been paid at a roughly $17-18M per season arbitration rate, and he has not been that good a player, really, the Astros really screwed that up. I think $15M is more in line with the market - see Upton - for a player like him, and that is the type of deal I would like to see, 4-5 years at $15M.

      But I'm fine with the Giants taking their time in getting that done, they usually wait until late spring training to get such deals done, and by then they will have more internal info regarding Pence, and they could even go into mid-season and still pursue such a deal, I think, I think he would be open to that given his professed love of the team.

  3. I think all that Pagan needs to do to justify his contract is put up 2.5 WAR a year for three years and the fourth year can be a (Hufflike) wash. He put up almost 5 WAR last year, so assuming something like 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.0 over the next four will make his deal quite cost effective. He's an average CF at best, so as his legs deteriorate (which is inevitable at his age), he'll need to move to a corner OF position. Nonetheless, he's a very good baserunner and has learned to use AT&T to his advantage -- he broke the team record for triples in a season last year.

    The hope is that Brown is ready by the time Angel becomes a liability in CF. As for Pence, I'd bet they get a 4 year deal worked out before ST. I'm still holding out hope for a Hairston signing to platoon with Blanco in LF, but the Yanka$$ seem to have the inside track on him.

    1. Good thoughts and comments, thanks. FYI, it is the Tigers rumored to be in on Hairston last I heard, two year deal (MLBTR).

  4. The tweet reporting is that Victorino is getting three years at $39M. Makes Pagan's 4 years at $40M look like a bargain deal. As Baggarly tweeted, "No take-backs, Pagan!"

    Also that the Giants wants two years with Scutaro but might go to option year if necessary. And Scutaro apparently will give the Giants the final shot at him.

    Giants also looking to get Theriot back here too, in utility role (which he would have in 2012 if Franchez wasn't injured all year).

    Pavlovic tweets that the Giants have "wiggle room" in the budget if one more big name is available down the line.

    Baggarly tweets that Giants would listen hard if a free agent wanted to play for them (he also mentioned Swisher, which presumes that he is interested in the Giants).

    Tweets all over that Giants pick up Sabean and Bochy's options for 2014. "No brainer land" Larry Baer. Indeed.

    1. Also, Pavlovic notes that extensions will be discussed at some point next year. Plus quotes Baer: payroll is going above $140 million this off-season. "It's gone up and it's going up."

    2. However that does not jibe with the quote on space in the budget. BB-Ref currently has the Giants 2013 payroll at $123.1M. Pagan would add $7M salary to $130.1M plus $1.25M for apportioned bonus amount, or $131.35M. Add the rumored $8M for Scutaro, and that is $139.35M, or basically the $140M budget quoted, and Theriot signing would push it above $140M. There is no space for a big purchase based on those numbers, only if the payroll was $150M.

    3. Baggarly tweets that he got wires crossed, Giants last offered 2 years plus vesting option.

      That's life in the tweet-osphere.

    4. And now Baggs tweets that Swisher is a big ticket item, not under consideration. I think they're getting a little swept up in it today. But I do expect Scutaro to be a Giant now.

    5. Starting to see tweets that Swisher is waiting for Hamilton deal to happen and if he had his druthers, he would like to go to the Giants.

      If he's expecting Hamilton-like money, then he's got the wrong team in mind. Swisher should be guided more by Upton's and Victorino's deals, not Hamilton.

      Now seeing corroborating Baggarly tweet that the Giants don't view Swisher seriously because he's a "big ticket item".

    6. Buster Olney reporting that Bochy says Giants are hoping Scutaro accepts Giants offer tonight, after meeting with his reps today.

  5. I like Larry Baer saying the budget is going to go 140MM and beyond. That is much smarter handling of this thorny issue than last year. They also need to do that, as they are raising ticket prices and moving up the deadline for down payments on season tickets. That's a good trade off. They don't need a 200MM budget, but they need to be flexible and not make either/or choices right now.

  6. Alright OGC, we have some exciting stuff coming down tonight. Vintage Sabean style: the gauntlet is thrown down. Sign our contract offer, or we're moving on. I love it. Sabean targets, puts out a fair offer, and the dancing around part is over. The Cards are making a late run, but I'm not buying this 50-50 crap from world class lame-o Buster Olney. I bet its 80-20 Gints, and the Scutaro agency is just trying to get the best deal for their guy. So now its brass tacks time.



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