Giants Make Good Gamble on Pagan

We noted earlier on Monday that the Giants were in the business of trying to acquire a centerfielder to replace Angel Pagan.

They did just that late on Monday afternoon as they signed ... Angel Pagan! CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly reports that the Giants are bringing Pagan back on a four-year, $40 million deal that will keep him a Giant through 2016.

Per Baggarly, Pagan will receive a $5 million signing bonus and have salaries of $7 million, $9 million, $9 million and $10 million over the course of the deal. Needless to say, Pagan and his family are pretty excited.

"I cant stop crying!!!!!" Windy Pagan, Angel's wife, tweeted. "Thanks San Francisco for believed in my husband!!!"

That deal, by the way, is pretty large, but it's also a pretty good gamble by the Giants on a guy to man centerfield. Here are a few reasons why.

First, market value. $10 million a year is a lot for a guy who's never played more than the 154 games he played in 2012. But it's not $75 million to B.J. Upton and it's not settling on something similar for Shane Victorino.

Which leads us to the second point: chemistry. Pagan clearly fits in well with this team. There's no telling how someone else would fit. Stats are important but the way a clubhouse interacts matters too, and it's clear from both the Giants title runs how relevant that is to this team.

Third, this is actually an underpay relative to some of the other Giants free-agent mistakes from years past. Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff are great examples of contracts gone horribly wrong for San Francisco -- Rowand's deal was longer and for more money and for a worse player than Pagan's contract.

There's also the very important "win now" factor, which couples nicely with the whole "gigantic influx of television and World Series victory money" factor. By locking down Pagan, the Giants can focus on trying to get Marco Scutaro back and make another run with their title team intact. $40 million doesn't break the bank, especially with Huff getting dumped and Barry Zito's albatross of a deal nearing its expiration.

And, of course, the difference in this contract from Rowand/Huff don't end there. Huff was older and played first base, meaning his deal actually blocked someone (Brandon Belt) from getting to the majors. Pagan technically blocks Gary Brown, but there is more than one spot in the outfield. Rowand was coming over from Philadelphia, which is a much, much, much easier place to hit than San Francisco.

Pagan provides stolen bases, he plays an important defensive position, he gives the Giants continuity and they didn't break the bank for him. If he ends up missing a ton of games or completely falling off a cliff -- which is much less likely than you think, considering he was 3.8 win player in 2009 and a 5.1 win player in 2011 with the Mets -- it'll look like a bad deal.

But for right now, getting Pagan back in the fold at a not-too-unreasonable cost is a solid gamble by the Giants and Brian Sabean.

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