According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the San Francisco Giants have agreed to a four-year contract with their center fielder Angel Pagan, worth a rumored $40 million.
The best possible free agent fit for the Phillies is now off the market, joining Denard Span and B.J. Upton as center field possibilities to sign elsewhere.
Inside, my feelings cry a little.
San Francisco’s run to the World Series shined too much light on Pagan, driving up his price beyond the point to which Amaro and the Phillies front office felt comfortable.
Of course, the question is, now what?
The remaining free agents on the board, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton and Shane Victorino, are all less-than-ideal solutions at their current asking prices.
There are numerous reports that say teams are calling about Shane Victorino, with three and four-year-deals in tow. Bourn is said to want a contract similar to the five-year, $75 million Upton got with Atlanta. And Hamilton’s contract requests, past drug and alcohol abuse and injury history, make him the biggest boom-or-bust option of the three. There is also doubt as to how long Hamilton will be able to continue playing center field anyway.
Some possible trade targets include Colorado’s Dexter Fowler, Anaheim’s Peter Bourjos and Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury. Unfortunately, the price tag for Fowler and Ellsbury, in terms of prospects, is likely to be quite high. And Anaheim says they’re planning on starting Bourjos in their outfield this year.
Perhaps Amaro will pursue a lesser-named center fielder and look for a big-bat corner outfielder. Nick Swisher and Ryan Ludwick are free agents, and a trade for Josh Willingham could be a possibility as well.
But there is no option that seems like a perfect fit for the Phillies any longer. Upton and Pagan were easily the two best fits for the Phils, and both are now gone.
Amaro must make a move at some point, but his patience thus far has probably been wise. Unlike previous years, Ruben is biding his time and refusing to overpay for players, unlike in years past.
Hopefully his patience, combined with his nose for a big deal, will combine to bring home something palatable that will improve an inconsistent Phillies offense for 2013 and beyond.