Giants sign Melvin Upton, and no, they won’t re-sign Angel Pagan

You might have noticed that the Giants have gotten nothing out of their left fielders over their first five games. One could say they’re desperately seeking someone to play the position reasonably well, since they recently signed Drew Stubbs to a minor league deal and today they effectively purchased another cheap lottery ticket with hopes of a modest payoff.

This has left some — by no means all, but some — Giants fans wondering why they haven’t re-signed Angel Pagan. Pagan is coming off his best full season since 2012 and he’s still unemployed. He couldn’t be worse than the Jarrett Parker/Chris Marrero combo, right?

That might be true, although I would point out that trusting “contract year Pagan” might not be the best idea. Also, the Giants would rather swap stadiums with the A’s than deal with Pagan for another season.

OK, that’s a slight overstatement. Slight.

Sound crazy that the Giants would lean toward the “anyone but Angel” camp? Let’s consider the evidence.

  • The Giants are known for keeping their current players, often longer than advisable.
  • The Giants are known to love veteran players.
  • The Giants need a left fielder.
  • Angel Pagan is available.

Pagan’s contract demands (reportedly around $5 million) could be a stumbling block. But more importantly, Pagan is a high-maintenance player who caused a lot of headaches for Bruce Bochy, who should probably be considered for sainthood after managing Pagan for five seasons. Not that Bochy would ever complain — in fact, he was often the only one in the dugout who would give half-hearted salutes back to Pagan when he did his trademark signal to the dugout after reaching base — but there’s a reason why it took so long for Bochy to convince Pagan to switch outfield positions.

Bochy never knew if he could count on Pagan to play … unless he was in a contract year, anyway. Pagan was in the lineup on 9/19/14, but ended up being a late scratch because his back tightened up on him. Four days later, it was announced that Pagan would have back surgery.

How can I put this delicately?  Um, deciding to have back surgery within a couple weeks of the playoffs is not done all that often.

If Pagan was willing to sign a cheaper deal with incentives AND a better teammate who they could count on to play through non-severe injuries, the Giants would probably feel differently. But they’ll look at every possible option before even contemplating a reunion with a 35-year-old light-hitting corner outfielder, with a bad arm and a lengthy injury history, who was worth 1.4 wins above replacement over the last four seasons. And would Pagan even want to return? That’s not the safest assumption, either.

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