Angel Pagan to the Bench? What To Do about the Mets' Outfield Dilemma

Justin NormanCorrespondent IJune 23, 2010

CLEVELAND - JUNE 17:  Angel Pagan #16 of the New York Mets hits a single during the game against the Cleveland Indians on June 17, 2010 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

On the eve of the announcement that Carlos Beltran will be making a rehab start and is on the brink of returning to the Mets, his replacement, Angel Pagan, played arguably his best game of 2010.

Pagan, who has been nothing short of stellar for the Mets this season, went 4-for-6 with four RBI and three runs scored. He was just a home run away from the cycle.

Angel has been an angel in the outfield for the Mets this year. He has been one of their most consistent players and has shown tremendous personal improvement in all facets of his game, especially base running.

In 2010, Pagan is hitting a team-leading .304, with a .363 OBP, 41 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases. He has provided excellent defense in center field and has proven to be a dynamic duo with Jose Reyes atop the Mets lineup.

Most Mets fans will agree that when Beltran comes back, Pagan absolutely deserves to remain a starter. The only problem is, who sits?

Left fielder Jason Bay is undoubtedly going to continue to play every day, given his salary, pedigree, and potential when he is hot.

Right fielder Jeff Francoeur, though struggling at times this season, is a stellar defender and is generally regarded as an everyday player.

With that, Pagan may be the odd man out. The other option may be to platoon Francoeur and Pagan, although playing two starters irregularly may not be the best for either player's timing.

As the trade deadline approaches, there is also talk about the Mets trying to acquire a pitcher such as Roy Oswalt or Cliff Lee. Perhaps one of these outfielders could be packaged with prospects in a blockbuster trade.

Pagan seemingly has more trade value than Francoeur, but I think trading Pagan would not be favorable amongst the Mets fans.

Maybe the best option would be to have Pagan taking ground balls at second base. Although this idea is far-fetched, playing all four of the outfielders at the same time would be the best case scenario.

And Pagan, who has adjusted his game throughout his young career to establish himself as a starter, would probably not be opposed to that idea.

You see, Pagan has established himself as a hard-nosed player who does everything right and puts his ball club in the position to win time and time again.

Personally, I would hate to see Pagan moved to the bench. I think he deserves to remain a starter over Francoeur.

If only the Mets were in the American League, and they could just slide Beltran into the DH spot. Oh well.

Nonetheless, it will certainly be interesting to see what manager Jerry Manuel decides to do once Beltran returns.  


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