It's no secret that the Sandy Alderson administration soured on New York Mets center fielder Angel Pagan. There were rumors that he would not be even be tendered a contract this offseason because both his hitting and -- more importantly to the new front office -- his fielding regressed. Plus, Pagan was often the culprit of a number of boneheaded mistakes and his attitude often did not jive with his bosses.
Tuesday night, the Mets completed their first winter-meetings trade, ridding themselves of Pagan. They acquired San Francisco Giants center fielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez, two arbitration-eligible players, according to The Record's Steve Popper. It's Alderson's second significant trade with Giants general manger Brian Sabean after jettisoning Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for blue-chip pitching prospect Zach Wheeler.
Alderson and Co. were not fans of Pagan. After breaking out in 2010 with a .290/.340/.425 year with 11 home runs, 80 runs 69 runs batted in and 37 steals, the 30-year-old took a big step back in 2011. He hit .262/.322/.372 with seven home runs. 68 runs, 56 runs batted in and 32 stolen bases, while playing just 123 games because of injuries. Even more crucial to this front office is center-field defense. Pagan was a decent defender in 2010, worth 14.9 on Fangraphs ultimate zone rating per 150 games. In 2011, Pagan was worth -16.1. The center fielder earned $3.5 million this past campaign.
In reality, Pagan and Torres (both switch hitters) are almost exactly the same players, Torres is just three years older. He did have an awful 2011, batting .221/.312/.330 with four home runs, 50 runs, 19 RBI and 19 steals, but he was also very good in 2010 when he had 16 home runs, 26 steals with a .268/.343.479 slash line. It's the definition of a change-of-scenery trade, with the Giants hoping Pagan regains his form (still in his prime) and the Mets banking on Torres rebounding from a down 112-game campaign. Torres' upgrade comes as he has a bit more pop in his bat, is considered a more reliable defender, not having a 'negative' UZR/150 year since 2002 (his rookie year) when he played 19 games, and can also bat leadoff. He made $2.2 million last season.
Ramirez is another arm the Mets add to their bullpen, and promising one at that. He's a 30-year-old right-hander who has been traded five times over the past five years, but so is the life in the reliever's world sometimes. He had a fantastic year with the Giants in 2011, striking out 8.65 batters per nine innings, with a 2.62 ERA and 1.17 WHIP overall in 68.2 innings. He has a career 3.16 ERA, but hasn't had one above 2.64 since 2007. The 5-foot-11, 199-pound reliever will throw in the low 90s, has a very good slider and a decent change up. He profiles as a very nice set-up man in Flushing. He made $1.65 million last season, and is due for a slight raise this coming year.
While Pagan might have slightly more upside, the Mets got a similar player in return and added a quality arm to their bullpen. A win-win trade for both sides.