Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Still in on Angel Pagan for left field?

Brendan Panikkar
Mar 17, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Puerto Rico outfielder Angel Pagan (16) rounds third base on a hit by infielder Carlos Correa (not pictured) during the first inning against the United States during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Puerto Rico outfielder Angel Pagan (16) rounds third base on a hit by infielder Carlos Correa (not pictured) during the first inning against the United States during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays and Angel Pagan have been linked in rumours once again, this time in a tweet from ESPN’s Jim Bowden.

My original plan was to write a piece on the Toronto Blue Jays situation in left field and where the competition stood as the final week of spring training is officially underway. However, a bit of juicy news that could be quite a welcome sight to Blue Jays fans, is that the team is reportedly still in on free agent outfielder Angel Pagan.

The information was tweeted by ESPN’s Jim Bowden. You can see the tweet below.

What the tweet leaves out is the fact that not just the Blue Jays, but upwards of 4 other teams are still in on Pagan. Those include the likes of his former team the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, and Detroit Tigers.

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Pagan is 35 years old and is likely looking for a destination where he will get the most playing time. Even though he has won 2 World Series titles with the Giants, part of his decision on where he plays could potentially hinge on where he has the best chance of winning a title. Even though that’s not a reported factor, one could assume that would play a part.

In terms of who provides Pagan the most playing time, the most logical fit in terms of need is the Blue Jays. The Giants seem set with Jarrett Parker in left field, and the Braves have 3 starting outfielders in Matt KempEnder Inciarte, and Nick Markakis. I would personally be surprised if Pagan ends up with the Padres due to the fact they’re in full rebuild mode and an addition of Pagan would seem to go against what they’re doing in San Diego.

The next most logical fit behind the Blue Jays in my mind is the Tigers. The Tigers have learned that J.D Martinez will be out 3-4 weeks, combined with the fact that currently listed as a starter in centre field is Mikie Mahtook, with Tyler Collins behind him. While Pagan isn’t the burner he used to be, he would likely slot in right until Martinez is back, at which point Pagan would go to center.

I won’t go too in-depth with what Pagan would bring to the table with the Blue Jays (you can read about that here), but Pagan could instantly become the Blue Jays lead off hitter and everyday left fielder. He also hits left-handed and would bring some more balance to the top of the order. Devon Travis would likely be dropped to 8th or 9th in the order if Pagan is added, giving the lineup added length.

While Pagan does seem to be a diminishing asset rather quickly, he was still worth 2.1 wins according to Fangraphs in 2016. In terms of the current potential left fielders, Melvin Upton Jr. was worth 1.2 wins (almost all with the Padres), Ezequiel Carrera was worth 0.7 in 310 plate appearances, and the oft-injured Steve Pearce was worth 2.0. Pagan was more valuable than each of the potential left fielders. Pearce would then be moved to 1st base with Justin Smoak, something many Blue Jays fans would love to see happen.

The Blue Jays would have a decision to make if Pagan is added. Would they eat $1 million to DFA Upton? Seems possible, but it’s likely they’d keep him to be the 4th outfielder if they cannot trade him. That would mean team and new fan favourite Ezequiel Carrera would likely be the odd man out. The team does seem to love Carrera and what he would bring as a 4th outfielder, but that difficult choice of Upton or Carrera would need to be made if the Blue Jays do add Pagan.

Upton has had a pretty terrible spring combined with a bummed shoulder, and Carrera has dealt with a contusion in his leg. Pearce has barely played in the outfield, making the current picture without Pagan quite murky.

Next: Blue Jays inform Mat Latos he will not make the team

We shall see how this breaks down over the next 24-48 hours. Pagan would fill a lot of needs for the team and make left field less of a black hole. Stay tuned to Twitter!

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