Angel Pagan can't play, but he isn't disabled

Jason O. Watson

It's a fine line between hurt and disabled.

Baseball-Reference.com is the best website in the universe. We can all agree on that. But there are baseball-related questions that even it can't answer. For example, I have a theory about the Giants, but without Baseball-Reference.com spoon-feeding me tables and such, it has to remain a theory. But here goes:

The Giants over the last several years have led the universe in "players unable to play but not on the disabled list." Again, just a guess. And the corollary to that is the Giants most certainly lead the universe in "players unable to play but not on the disabled list who eventually go on the disabled list." As in, after a week of day-to-days, missed games, and 24-man rosters, the Giants usually give in, and put the player on the DL retroactively.

Since the inside-the-park home run, Pagan has missed three games. He's out again on Thursday. With the off-days coming up next week, the maximum reward for the Giants going with a short bench for four games is eight games of Angel Pagan.

Which might be worth it. And, again, this is a tricky thing for a couch jockey to judge because the people who know what's actually happening -- Dave Groeschner, Pagan -- aren't taking this lightly. How you feelin', Angel? Pretty close, pretty close. Could probably go today if needed. Okay, sounds good, we'll watch this closely.

That sort of thing. So don't treat this as a "PAGAN SHOULD PLAY" or "PAGAN SHOULD BE ON THE DL" manifesto. Heck, I don't know what's going on with Pagan's hamstring.

But it seems like a pattern we've seen before. Like the relievers-with-runners-on-base idea, maybe this is just cognitive bias. We pay attention to the Giants, so it seems like the Giants are the only team that does these weird little things. Most teams probably do it to some extent. Dunno.

On Wednesday night, though, Brett Pill hit against Pat Neshek, a side-arming right-hander, in the late innings. Brandon Belt was on the bench. Pill worked a walk (!), so it's not like it cost the Giants anything. But that's normally a spot in which you would see Belt.

Belt eventually got into the game as a pinch-hitter. He came in against left-handed death machine Sean Doolittle. This would never happen with a full bench unless it was, like, the 13th inning. That's the price of hoping Pagan will be healthy for the St. Louis series. And, again, maybe that's a risk worth taking.

It seems like a familiar pattern, though. And if/when Pagan goes on the DL, maybe we should start keeping our own database and check in with how often the Giants do this sort of thing. Maybe no more than other teams. Maybe a lot more. Feels like a lot more.

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