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Replacing Angel Pagan (or standing pat)

The Giants could probably use another outfielder, but should they just grab the first one off the shelf?


Angel Pagan had successful surgery on his hamstring according to his wife, generally the first source I turn to for medical updates, and he'll be out for approximately 12 weeks. That puts him back in the middle of September, give or take.

The Giants have two options:

  1. Status quo
  2. Trade

Technically, you can break those down into all sorts of sub-options. There are hilarious trades, enraging trades, depressing trades … let's not limit ourselves here. But the big picture is that the Giants can stand pat, or they can make a trade.

Because the Giants have the positional flexibility to move Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres to center, they don't need a center fielder, which is nice. They can get a thumper-clumper, the genus of corner outfielder who can hit but not field, like Pat Burrell. Or they could get a flashy, defensively sound outfielder and have all those speedy guys whip around the outfield like electrons.

The Giants are in danger of finishing the season with the 31st-ranked farm system, so they probably don't want to trade a bushel of prospects for an outfielder who is under team control. They'll probably want to rummage through the boxes on the floor first. But here's a list of the pending free agents who aren't playing for a contending team:

Jason Bay
Raul Ibanez
Mike Morse
Delmon Young
Franklin Gutierrez
Marlon Byrd
Jeff Francoeur
David DeJesus

Some of those names escaped from the Ark of the Covenant, and now your face is a puddle of melted German slurry. Sorry about that. You can see how some of them would interest Brian Sabean, even if only in our own minds. Maybe Mike Morse would be an option as a thumper-clumper, albeit a low-OBP one. I guess I'd rather have David DeJesus than Gregor Blanco if they had the same contract, but Blanco is younger, cheaper, and around for a couple more years if the Giants want him. DeJesus over Torres is probably a small gain, but I'm not sure if it's a gain worth even a token prospect.

So if you're looking for an immediate, low-cost fix, you're looking at something like Marlon Byrd. I'm not even sure if the Giants would prefer Byrd over Juan Perez. Given the choice between the status quo and a trade for a pending free agent, the Giants will probably choose the status quo unless a team is just giving the player away.

If you're looking for a long-term fix, well, hey, sounds good. But it'll cost you.

The price for Giancarlo Stanton starts with Madison Bumgarner. Starts. Maybe the Marlins would do a quantity-over-quality trade and accept the Giants' best eight or nine prospects. I'd do that. The Marlins wouldn't. The Marlins want "top prospects" or something crazy. The Giants can't play that game.

Alex Rios might be had for something reasonable. Alex Rios is under contract for $12.5 million next year. The Giants do not want Alex Rios. Try not to compare his relative value to a certain right-handed pitcher, either. It'll only depress you.

Norichika Aoki is making pennies through 2014, after which he's eligible for arbitration. The Brewers have no reason to trade him other than for good prospects. This is more tempting than most options. It's still not that tempting. Not if it costs a Crick or Stratton.

Josh Willingham is relatively cheap, but he's having a down year. He's 34, so he might be a good buy-low candidate, or he might be on the downslope of a career.

Sorry about the name salad up there. There's a lot to go through, and I'm sure I've missed a couple. But the point is this: You should be feeling better about the status quo right now. Blanco in center with Torres in left, with Juan Perez spotting them both against tough lefties? Sure. It beats Raul Ibanez taking pride in his defense.

Until further notice, here's my outfield power rankings for the Giants:

1. Josh Willingham (if the Twins aren't too grabby with the prospects)
2. Status quo
3. Nope

I'm scared this is the outfield power rankings for the front office:

1. Mike Morse
2. Mike Morse
3. Mike Morse

Morse is just not that good. His OPS is 18 percent better than the league average after adjusting for park, but he still might be below replacement level because his defense is so bad. The Mariners would probably want prospects for him, too, because they have no idea what they're doing.

Maybe in the frenzy of the deadline, a low-cost, reasonable upgrade falls into the Giants' lap. It's not like it would be super hard to replace Andres Torres as an everyday player, so maybe a Marlon Byrd-type comes over for a pinch of nutmeg and a nickel. But other than Willingham -- who, again, is kind of disappointing this season -- I'm not seeing anything even close to a must-have fit. I'm seeing a lot of outfield Orlando Cabreras, actually.

And that makes Andres Torres seem pretty palatable, indeed.