Philadelphia Phillies: Why Angel Pagan Would Fit in the Lineup Perfectly

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Philadelphia Phillies: Why Angel Pagan Would Fit in the Lineup Perfectly
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Free-agent center fielder Angel Pagan was expected to return to the San Francisco Giants. After all, they just won a World Series, and Pagan played a significant role on that team.

However, according to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Giants are not sure that they want to give him as long of a contract as he wants.

Of course, these two parties could easily resolve this problem, but if it does not work out, the Philadelphia Phillies need to make a move and sweep up Pagan for their void in center field.

The typical argument against Pagan joining the Philadelphia Phillies is his age. He is 31 years old, and the Phillies have one of the oldest teams in baseball. Many people would argue that they need to look at a younger option like B.J. Upton.

However, this argument is somewhat flawed.

Relying only on age to judge a player would be like an NBA team signing an eight-foot player who has never touched a basketball before. Yes, height is important in basketball just like age is important in baseball, but it is only one dimension. The skills need to be there beyond these unchangeable factors.

Pagan has the type of skill set that would benefit the Philadelphia Phillies.

Last season, he hit .288 with eight home runs, 56 RBI and 29 stolen bases. He also led the National League with 15 triples and rapped out 38 doubles. While he doesn't seem to have a lot of home run power, he has quite a bit of extra-base-hit power.

The home run power also might develop in Citizens Bank Park, which is much more hitter-friendly than AT&T Park.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

That is important because Chase Utley and Ryan Howard exist in the middle of the Philadelphia batting order to drive in runs. Both of these men have the potential to drive in over 100 runs, but they need people on base. Pagan has obviously proven that he can get on base, and that is the easiest way to score runs.

Also, it is significant to note that in his entire career (695 games), Pagan has grounded into only 25 double plays. By putting him in the second slot, Pagan gives the Phillies some safety at the top of the lineup: If leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins got on base, the bases would rarely be cleared because of Pagan.

Again, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley need people to drive in. Pagan would not eliminate these opportunities.

The Phillies do not need more power from a high-strikeout hitter like Upton in the middle of their lineup. They need people to handle themselves at the top of the order and utilize the power that they already have.

I realize that a lot of this argument relies on the fact that Utley and Howard need to be healthy and return to their normal level of production. And perhaps that is a bit of an assumption. However, just by looking at his statistics, we can see that Pagan gets on base without compromising the offensive attack. Whoever is in the middle of the lineup would benefit from that.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly that Pagan is definitely on his radar, and if the Giants are not able to bring him back, the Philadelphia Phillies need to make a major play for the center fielder.

 

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