Angel Pagan Rumors: Could the Washington Nationals Pursue the Center Fielder?

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIINovember 19, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 25:  Angel Pagan #16 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates as he returns to the dugout after he scored in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Two of the Major League Baseball World Series at AT&T Park on October 25, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Center fielders are a hot commodity this offseason, as Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton have been drawing a ton of interest from several teams around the league.

A guy that's not mentioned nearly as often is Angel Pagan.

That's not really very fair, as he could turn out to be one of the best free-agent signings of the offseason.

Last season, Pagan broke out with the San Francisco Giants. He put together a line of .288/.338/.440 with eight home runs, 56 RBI, 29 stolen bases and a league-leading 15 triples.

He also had the best range of any center fielder in the National League according to His 2.70 mark placed him ahead of Andres Torres of the New York Mets (2.66) and Jon Jay of the St. Louis Cardinals (2.65).

Put all these statistics together, and you've got yourself one of the most underrated outfielders in the game.

Ken Rosenthal of reports that the same teams interested in Bourn and Upton—the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies—have also shown some interest in Pagan. The Giants also have interest in retaining their center fielder.

Could the Washington Nationals also show interest?

Bourn and Upton are the bigger names in this scenario, but each has their share of flaws.

Bourn may steal a ton of bases (276 in his seven-year career), but he's also led the league in caught stealing the past two seasons. He's recorded five straight seasons of 10-plus caught stealing.

Upton, on the other hand, doesn't provide the Nationals with the leadoff hitter that they seek. He has above-average power, but also strikes out more than the Nationals would like. He's struck out 152 times or more each of the last four seasons.

Pagan represents more of a typical leadoff man. He steals bases with regularity, doesn't get caught much and puts the ball in play. He has power, but generally just drives the gaps for extra bases.

Prying him away from the World Series champion Giants would represent a huge shift of momentum in the National League.

He was one of their most consistent performers last season. Even though the Nationals had the best record in baseball, they fell just short of their playoff goals. Signing Pagan could give them the boost they need.

It's still very early on in free agency, but don't be surprised if Pagan gets scooped up soon—and don't be surprised if it's by the Nationals.