New York Mets: Angel Pagan Serving As More Than Just the Team's Best Hitter

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IJune 1, 2010

NEW YORK - MAY 27:  Angel Pagan #16 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during their game on May 27, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

When and if Carlos Beltran returns this season, The New York Mets will have to decide what to do with Angel Pagan.

Pagan has been starting in CF for the majority of the season in place of the injured Beltran.

What started out as just a temporary fix has now turned into a future conflict.

The Mets' starting outfield right now consists of Jason Bay in left, Angel Pagan in center, and Jeff Francoeur in right. Each of them have proved that they belong in the starting lineup, whether it's because of their potential and salary, defensive boost, or consistency at the plate.

Some Mets experts and fans would argue that Francoeur would be the one to suffer when Beltran returns. Pagan can shift over to right field, leaving Francoeur on the bench.

This potential near-future conflict has created some heavy competition at the plate from Francoeur and Pagan as of late. 

Francoeur, who has been in much of a slump since his hot start to the season, went 4-5 in New York's win this past Sunday.

Pagan has been the more consistent hitter. As a matter of fact, he's been the team's most consistent hitter all season, sporting a .302 batting average and nine stolen bases. 

One thing is for sure—Pagan is not only serving as their best hitter, but he is also their best trading asset. 

When and if Beltran returns, the Mets will be able to ship Pagan to another team near the trade deadline for a reliable starting pitcher, something they've needed all season long.