Upton sets barometer for Giants' negotiations with Pagan

Upton sets barometer for Giants' negotiations with Pagan
November 29, 2012, 3:37 am
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The Giants remain in touch with the agents for Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan, and it remains likely that Scutaro will re-sign for two years or perhaps two with an option. He has been a free agent before and knows all the steps in this dance.

Pagan is a 30-year-old free agent for the first time, and he knows this is his one shot at a massive money grab. Hes staying patient and letting the outfield market shape itself.

It began to coalesce Wednesday, with B.J. Upton showing the most first-step quickness among free-agent center fielders. He reportedly agreed to a five-year contract with the Atlanta Braves that will guarantee him at least 70 million.

Upton was considered the second best free-agent center fielder on the market, behind Michael Bourn. The Braves obviously preferred Upton on their terms over whatever Bourn is demanding, especially since theyll have to sacrifice a first-round draft pick to Tampa Bay as compensation.

This is good and bad for the Giants. On one hand, the Braves were interested in Pagan. So one of his bigger suitors has a full shopping cart. (Although they still want a left fielder who could hit leadoff.) On the other hand, Upton got a fifth year. If he had signed a four-year deal, maybe Pagans market gets capped at three.

Just my gut: I think the Giants would be willing to give Pagan three years but not four.

So the wait continues.

Just remember: If the Giants fail to re-sign Pagan, theyll need to find both a leadoff hitter and an outfielder. Shane Victorino is out there, and so is Ichiro Suzuki. But neither of them are so terrific in the on-base percentage department.

As for top outfield prospect Gary Brown, he likely wont be ready anytime soon. He still has to make some big adjustments to compete against higher level pitching following a tough year at Double-A Richmond.

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