Angel in the outfield: Giants get Pagan for Torres, Ramirez

The Giants acquired center fielder Angel Pagan for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

The Giants made their second significant move of the offseason Tuesday, acquiring outfielder Angel Pagan for outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez.

When comparing Pagan to Torres, the Giants got a clear upgrade offensively. Both players had breakout years in 2010.

Pagan had .290 AVG/.340 OBP/.425 SLG, 37-46 on SBs, 15.3 K pct.
Torres had .268/.343/.479, 26-33 on SBs; 22.5 K pct.

And both suffered drop-offs in 2011.

Pagan .262/.322/.372, 32-39 SBs, 11.7 K pct.
Torres .221/.312/.330, 19-25 SBs, 23.9 K pct.

Torres was clearly the better defender, but Pagan had an outstanding defensive season in 2010, when he ranked in the top 5 in Defensive WAR, Total Zone Runs, Range Factor, putouts and outfield assists. His defensive numbers took a big drop in 2011, most notably because he committed a whopping 10 errors. But has he had committed nine total error in his previous five major league seasons, we have to consider last season an anomaly.

In 2011, Pagan never seemed to get on track and battled through a series of ailments. Most notably, Pagan missed five weeks of the season with a stress fracture in his rib cage after opening the season batting .159. He hit .279 after coming off the DL. So even with his drop-off, Pagan’s season was far superior than Torres’ 2011 campaign. And Pagan is more than three years younger.

Pagan, Torres and Ramirez were all arbitration eligible. With Pagan set to make $5 in 2012, the salary exchange is basically a push.

Torres had essentially worked himself into a role as a reserve outfielder for the Giants in 2012. Pagan can step into a starting role. And with Pagan is a far better option as a leadoff hitter and center fielder than Melky Cabrera, who now moves over left field.

In order to get that upgrade, the Giants had to give something up. And that was Ramirez, who was coming off a season in which he had a 2.62 ERa in 68.2 IP. It was his fourth consecutive season with an ERA of 2.99 or lower. But with one of deepest bullpens in the majors, the Giants dealt from strength. And with organizational depth of relievers (notably Heath Hembree), the Giants felt Ramirez was expendable.

With Pagan, the Giants lineup next season could look like this:

CF Angel Pagan
2B Freddy Sanchez
LF Melky Cabrera
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Aubrey Huff
RF Nate Schierholtz
SS Brandon Crawford

One missing name that was quickly pounced upon by Giants fans was Brandon Belt.

We expect Belt will get at-bats. If he hits and if Huff (or any of the outfielders) struggles, Belt will get starts.

A couple of other potential moves: The Giants were reported to be working on a trade to send 2B Jeff Keppinger (another arbitration eligible player) to an unnamed AL team. Given the team’s financial constraints, it appears the next offseason splash won’t cause much of a ripple. The Giants want a right-handed infielder to support Crawford. They may have luck after next week’s non-tender date.

With the vacancy left by Ramirez, the Giants are talking about bringing Guillermo Mota back.

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