Angel Pagan was a key contributor for the World Series champion Giants this season, batting .288/.338/.440 with eight home runs, 56 RBI, 29 stolen bases and a .778 OPS while playing solid defense in center field. However, the Giants are prepared to let him walk for nothing if he signs elsewhere as a free agent.
That’s life with the new collective bargaining agreement, as Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the Giants will not make qualifying offers to any of their free agents. This list includes Pagan, Melky Cabrera and Jeremy Affeldt. Marco Scutaro is also a free agent, but the Giants can’t make him a qualifying offer since he was acquired from the Rockies during the season.
As Craig explained in detail earlier this week, teams must make a one-year qualifying offer to impending free agents in order to secure draft pick compensation. The dollar amount is determined by the average of the top 125 salaries in the game, so this year it checks in at $13.3 million. That would obviously be a pretty hefty chunk of change if Pagan was to accept, but he’ll likely be looking for a multi-year deal coming off such a strong season. Still, the Giants weren’t willing to take the chance.
Of course, just because the Giants aren’t making any qualifying offers doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in bringing any of their free agents back if the price is right. Giants general manager Brian Sabean has expressed interest in re-signing Pagan, but Baggarly hears team officials are less confident about doing so. That he won’t cost a draft pick will certainly make him more attractive to interested teams.
The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.
Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.
Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.