Pagan gets what he wants, where he wants it

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Pagan gets what he wants, where he wants it

SAN FRANCISCO -- Exactly one year after he was originally acquired from the Mets, Angel Pagan received real financial security for the first time in his career. The seven-year veteran has never had a deal lengthier than two years or one that earned more than $5 million a season. Next season will mark his first of four with the Giants, where he will earn an average of $10 million, and the man who calls himself "Crazy Horse" is looking forward to settling down in an area he has fast grown to love.

"The Giants were my No. 1 priority," Pagan told beat reporters at Comcast SportsNet's San Francisco studios Friday. "Then the other teams."

Pagan, who passed his physical Friday morning, was one of three free agents the Giants re-signed, joining Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Affeldt with a four-year contract worth $40 million dollars.

Pagan acknowledged he had multiple three-year contract offers on the table, but that he was looking for more.

"The Giants were the first ones to offer that fourth year, like I was hoping," Pagan said. "Right after they did it, I didn't hesitate. I wasn't waiting for another team."

If it was another team that proposed a four-year contract, though, Pagan most certainly would have given the Giants a chance to match the offer.

With his finances secured, Pagan is looking to move his family to the Bay Area. His two daughters, who are currently schooling in Puerto Rico, love San Francisco, and they could be seeing a lot more of it, if their dad can maneuver the local housing market.

"I'm looking to buy a house here in San Francisco right now, but they are pretty expensive," Pagan said with a laugh.

It was the right decision for his family, but there was another influence that drew Pagan back to the Bay.

"Nothing makes me happier than to be back to play with my teammates," Pagan said meaningfully.

He remained in contact with fellow table-setter Marco Scutaro nearly every day, updating each other with contract talk and reaffirming their desires to be reunited atop the Giants lineup for seasons to come.

"The chemistry shows on this team," Pagan said. "When we go out there trying to compete with one common goal -- not as teammates, but as brothers."

Scutaro wasn't the only teammate he stayed close with, though. Pagan cited Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt as others he communicated with frequently.

"I used to mess with them, telling them, 'It was nice playing with you guys.'" Pagan said. "They said 'Don't say that, again!' I have a lot of respect for my teammates because they showed me a lot of love."

Tough love, too. Recalling a conversation in the aftermath of the World Series, a group of teammates that included Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Buster Posey approached Pagan in the clubhouse.

"Aye, you better re-sign with us, because if you don't sign, you better wear the best elbow guards out there, 'cause you're going to get smoked," they said to him.

It was said in jest, but Pagan kept that moment close to his heart.

"That's something that makes you feel good, that they want you back," Pagan said. "And that's why I want to go out there and win championships, because I know my team would do the same for me."

Following the team's 2010 World Series title, the Giants won 86 games and failed to reach the playoffs in 2011. Pagan isn't concerned about a drop-off after the 2012 title. He plans to keep his sword sharp by representing Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic -- the semifinals and finals of which will be played at AT&T Park.

"The better you are, the higher the expectations."

Pagan, 31, is about two months away from reporting to spring training and realizing just how high the expectations surrounding a four-year, $40 million contract truly are.

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

SAN FRANCISCO — In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday, with the Giants finally running away with one, Johnny Cueto started blowing into a giant wad of bubble gum. He held two hands out, ready to catch remnants of an explosion as Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson looked on and smiled. 

A few minutes later, players started migrating to the dugout rail as they have done in each of the three starts Ryder Jones has made. They are ready to cheer on a rookie’s first big league hit, even if the wait has been an excruciating one for the third baseman. 

Bruce Bochy likes to say that your personality is better when you’re winning, and his players certainly showed that Monday in snapshots here and there. They woke up to a report that there were fractured in the clubhouse, caused in large part by the new closer. They denied it, they met as a group, and then, finally, they won. 

Jeff Samardzija pitched as he has for two months, the top of the lineup came through over and over again, and Brandon Crawford paced a golden night with the gloves. A 9-2 win over the Rockies was just the second since June 11 and it snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Rockies. Any win is meaningful at this point, but this one seemed to mean just a little bit more given the drama of the day. 

“Despite what people might think, we still have a pretty good group here and we get along just fine,” Crawford said. “We’re all rooting for each other.”

It’s one thing to support teammates off the field, and there’s been no indication that the Giants aren’t doing that. It’s quite another to be hand-in-hand between the lines, and for much of this season, Samardzija has been on an island. 

The right-hander has been Bochy’s best pitcher since Madison Bumgarner went down in the hills outside Denver. But he entered Monday with a 2-9 record and 4.74 ERA inflated by faulty defense. He hasn’t grumbled, but he has grown accustomed to the worst, and when Nolan Arenado bounced a ball deep to the hole in shortstop with two on and two outs in the third, Samardzija figured the game was probably tied. 

“I’m thinking maybe they charge it in the outfield and maybe make a play at home,” Samardzija said. “But with a guy like that at shortstop, things change so fast.”

Crawford scooped the ball on the edge of the grass. He would have liked nothing more than to make an otherworldly throw to first to nail his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he knew the best chance was at third. A couple of days ago, Crawford and Jones discussed how the rookie should cover third on such a play. Jones played it perfectly, retreating in time to catch Crawford’s inning-ending throw. 

“The best thing (about Crawford) is he doesn’t even talk about it,” Samardzija said.

No, Crawford put the spotlight on Jones.

“That’s a pretty heads-up play,” he said. “We talked about it and he was there. It was a funny coincidence.”

The play held the lead, and the Giants kept pushing. The top four hitters in the lineup finished with 10 hits, six RBI and six runs. Brandon Belt had an RBI triple in the five-spot. Crawford drove in a run behind him. Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson added insurance from the bottom. Bochy watched it all from the top step and saw a group collectively relax.

“Just quit fighting it so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this offense. There’s no reason they can’t put consistent runs on the board. Tonight I just thought the at-bats were so much better and the focus was. Once it started rolling, guys felt better about themselves, and it just got contagious.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced.