Think about Angel Pagan in 2016. His legs will have a lot more mileage. There's almost no way he'll still be in center field. Will he even be a starter? He'll turn 35 halfway through the last season of his new four year, $40 million deal. The odds are against him being a league-average starter at that point, I'd reckon.
Now think about Shane Victorino in 2015. Picture him in a Giants uniform, looking just as awful as he did with the Dodgers in the second half of the season. Think about the things you would throw at the TV. Picture him striking out against Brian Wilson to complete the Dodgers' sweep at AT&T Park.
Any fear and trepidation you might have with Pagan and a four-year deal can be soothed with five little words: At least it's not Victorino. The Pagan deal is at least a year longer than a lot of Giants fans might have liked. At least it's not Victorino. Pagan is getting $40 million, which is a lot of clams. At least it's not Victorino.
At least it's not Victorino.
And the Giants were going to get someone. They weren't going to head into the 2013 season with Gregor Blanco in center and Brett Pill in left. They were going to get a pricey free agent for one of the outfield spots. If it wasn't going to be B.J. Upton for $75 million, it was going to be Victorino for $50 million. If it wasn't either of those guys, it was going to be Nick Swisher for $55 million or, gulp, Michael Bourn for $90 million.
At least it's not any of those guys.
That's how you make yourself feel better only if you're entirely pessimistic about the deal, which you probably shouldn't be. The Giants, who don't have much of a minor-league system, and who are built to win now like few other teams, would be wasting an opportunity if they were to put money under a mattress. Every win Pagan adds for 2013 is kind of a big deal. The money he takes away from the flexibility of the 2016 roster? Not nearly as important right now. The Giants could be a 100-loss team then, Pagan or not. No idea. But we know they're likely to contend next year.
And over the last four years, do you know how good Pagan has been? He's in some pretty fine company. Some team will give a bushel of prospects or young players for Justin Upton this offseason. He hasn't been as good as Pagan. Another team will spend scores of millions on Josh Hamilton. He's been incrementally better than Pagan, if you buy into Wins Above Replacement.
Don't pay attention to Shane Victorino on that list. Just know that he's not on the Giants.
I'm not thrilled with the contract when looked at out of context. But in context, with Pagan being a lot more palatable than the other options on the market, it's really good news for the San Francisco Giants baseballing club, of which I'm rather fond.
Plus, I like the guy. Can't I just be a fanboy for a while? I didn't want to see Pagan on the Phillies. Gross. So welcome back, Angel Pagan. You have your payday. Now get gussied up for the press conference.
Yeah, there you go. Welcome back. We promise that we won't be an ass to you if things go sour like they did with Aubrey Huff. Well, I'll promise that, at least*.
*Promises are for effect and do not represent actual promises