But the good news is I’m back! Rejoice! When we last spoke, the Giants had won the World Series. Here’s a quick recap:
Fantastic! Since then, there has been a lot of offseason action that hasn’t been covered in the blog. Here is one thing that will not be addressed.
But for everything else, I’ll take the next few days to review the offseason. I know the Giants just won the World Series but they have some real holes on their team right now.
Now on to the 2 other most notable contracts, that seem to be important.
Angel Pagan signs 4 year 40 million dollar deal: We didn’t now it at the time, but when Shane Victorino signed a 3 year 39 million dollar deal a few days later, the Pagan contract looked like a steal. At the time, it still was a solid contract for a player that posted a higher Wins Above Replacement (4.8) than Josh Hamilton (4.5) and Albert Pujols (3.9). For a time, it seemed the Giants were seriously pursuing Victorino as an alternative to Pagan, which caused me wonder real apocalyptic thoughts. But alas, the Giants signed Pagan, an underrated outfielder, with an above average bat, plus base running and above average glove. Pagan is sometimes regarded as a poor fielder, because his routes to flyballs make it seem like he’s running an obstacle course even though he’s really running through an open field of grass. However, his speed makes up for a lot of mental errors, and when he gets a good beat on a ball, he can track down anything.
Since 2009, the season where Pagan got regular playing time for the first time, here is his WAR each season: 2.9, 5.4, 0.9, 4.8. The 2.9 year Pagan played just 88 games, meaning he was on pace for around double that amount in a full season. His 0.9 WAR year, 2011, was at least partially due to a nagging oblique injury, although I don't know for sure how much that affected him. So all in all, Pagan has played at around a 5.0 win level every season since he’s been a starter, except during an unhealthy 2011.
The down side is that Pagan is entering his age 32 season, meaning he’ll be 36 by the time the contract is over. For a guy who’s value is embedded in his legs, that’s cause for concern. But the alternatives were Gary Brown, who was downgraded to the 4th best Giants prospect, or a high price free agent like Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton, both of which aren’t substantially better than Pagan to justify 15 million dollars extra a year. All in all, Angel Pagan was a good signing, and he is not Shane Victorino, so hugs all around.
Marco Scutaro signs 3 year 20 million dollar deal: Marco Scutaro never signed a 3 year deal until this, as he enters his age 37 season and the contract will end when he’s 40. There are a couple ways to look at this. One is, like Pagan, there weren’t many alternatives, and before you say it, Emmanuel Burriss signed with the Reds, so that ship sailed also. In the last 5 seasons Scutaro has been worth at least 2.4 wins a year, and has posted above a .340 OBP in 4 of those years. He had the best contact rate in baseball by a mile, and has one of the best batting eyes in baseball. He is a Giant that takes pitches, which is a glorious thing to write.
On the other hand he’s a 37 year old middle infielder who is getting a 3 year contract for the first time. While he’s consistently been a 2 or 3 win player the past 5 seasons, there’s no gurantee he can keep that up during what is usually the doom yeara for position players. Omar Vizquel was with the Giants from his age 37-41 seasons, and during the first 3 years he had respective WARs of 2.7, 3.4. 2.4. Actually pretty good! That’s probably surprising because the freshest memory of Vizquel was in 2008 when the 41 year old middle infielder played like a 41 year old middle infielder (-0.7 WAR). So it’s possible for old guys to play well, even old middle infielders! However, it’s still a risk. Overall, I like the deal, because he’s a solid 2nd baseman, and Ryan Theriot is the alternative. But now this can be played on loop for the next 3 years without having to feel guilty about him being a Cardinal.