With Carlos Beltran making the right (field) decision, Angel Pagan finally has some respect from the Mets.
Pagan will start the season in centerfield and this time, there will be no one lurking to replace him. Pagan has never been secure enough to call himself a starting player, though he would have been the Mets regular right fielder for 2011.
The larger issue was getting past the notion that Beltran deserved to play in center, the position he had played so well before his knee injury.
But the Mets cannot compile a team based on sentiment or seniority. That Beltran came to terms with his situation is admirable on his part. However, it could also raise concern over his suitability to play in the field—at any position—on a regular basis. Right field at Citi Field is no day in the park.
Pagan was a major league spare part when he played for the Cubs. His claim to fame was homering twice on July 2, 1006, his 25th birthday. He was originally signed by the Mets and came back to New York after the Cubs gave up on him after an injury.
Pagan started in left for Mets in 2008, but only as a backup to Moises Alou. Last season, it seemed that Gary Matthews, Jr. could be the centerfielder.
Last season, Pagan played 94 games in center, 33 in right and 27 in left. Overall, he hit .290 with 11 homers and 69 runs batted in and stole 37 bases.
Pagan was the team’s best defensive and most productive outfielder. This season, he will get the chance to do the same as the starting centerfielder.