Friday, August 12, 2011

Pelfrey and Pagan gone for 2012?


With the 2011 season winding down and the Mets seemingly eliminated from playoff contention, it’s time to look at the potential 2012 roster. We know that David Wright, Ike Davis, Justin Turner, Daniel Murphy, Jason Bay, Josh Thole, Johan Santana, Jon Niese, and R.A. Dickey will all be part of the 2012 Mets. However, if you take a closer look at that list, I left off two names that many might expect to be part of the 2012 roster, Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan.

Mike Pelfrey has quickly gone from a budding star to a right-handed carbon copy of Oliver Perez. After flashing his potential brilliance to begin the 2010 season, he has tremendously digressed to the point of being considered a non-tendered player. In his first year of arbitration eligibility, Pelfrey came to an agreement with the Mets on a 1 year deal worth close to $4M. A deal that at the time looked like a bargain for a pitcher who went 15-9, with 3.66 ERA. After the 2012 season, Pelfrey will be arbitration eligible for the 2nd time. This time however, things will be a little different. Pelfrey has been downright brutal in 2011 as his 6-9, 4.53 record and ERA would indicate. Usually as players increase in arbitration eligibility they receive a raise from the previous year. In Pelfrey’s case, how do you justify giving a pitcher with his 2011 stats a contract of over $4M per year? Unless Pelfrey settles for less, I think his contract negotiations have a chance to get very ugly, potentially leading to him being non-tendered. However, the one thing the Mets must keep in mind regarding Pelfrey is that he is only 27 years of age. He is still young and has plenty of time to get his career on the right track.

Angel Pagan is in a very similar situation as Mike Pelfrey. Pagan finally was able to stay healthy and show off the skill set that many people thought he had when he was originally drafted. Coming off a career year (.290 AVE, 11 HR, 69 RBI, 80 R, 37 SB), Pagan was anointed the starting CF. For the first time in his career Pagan no longer had to fight his way on to a major league club. People expected him to build on his 2010 season and really take the next step to being an important piece of the organization’s future. However, it has not panned out that way in 2011. Pagan has struggled all year (.247 AVE, .314 OBP) and has also battled several minor injuries. Pagan will be entering his 4th year of arbitration and made $3.5M in 2011. So the question is asked about Pagan the same way it was asked with Pelfrey. Is he worth between $4M-$5M per year? Unlike Pelfrey, I feel Pagan is much more at risk of being let go. There have been rumblings in the tabloids that Pagan is not exactly a favorite of Sandy Alderson and the new front office. Unlike Pelfrey, youth is no longer on his side as he is 30 years old and has really only proved himself to be productive in 1 season (2010). The big question is will his agent try and negotiate his contract based off his solid 2010 campaign? Or will he understand that there is a new regime in place in New York that was not here for 2010 and accept a contract similar to what Pagan had in 2011. Only time will tell.

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