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Angel Pagan is taking the year off

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When last we heard from free agent outfielder Angel Pagan, he was dismissing the idea of accepting a minor league deal with anyone, saying “I just don’t feel I need to be fighting for a job . . . if a team wants me to help a team win, they know I can help them win.”

Pagan proceeded to play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, saying beforehand “I’m a winning player.  I’m healthy. They’ll see it in the (World) Baseball Classic.” Pagan did well enough in the WBC, going 10-for-35 with three doubles and a couple of RBI in eight games. Fantastic? No, but he was certainly healthy and durable, being only one of three players on the Puerto Rico squad to play all eight games of the tournament.

That has not, however, resulted in a job offer. So Pagan tells the Puerto Rican website El Vocero that he is taking 2017 off. Via NBC Bay Area:

Per El Vocero, Pagan said the decision was made as a family. “I’ve been away from my house for a long time,” he said, adding that he wants to take advantage of time that can’t be recovered. Pagan said he is not necessarily retiring.

It’ll be interesting to see if Pagan sticks to that in the very likely event that an outfielder gets injured or released.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.