Author: Matthew Pouliot

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer, David Wright commit to Team USA for WBC


We’ll hear plenty about players opting out of the World Baseball Classic over the next couple of months. How about a couple of guys that are in: Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and the Mets’ David Wright.

The Mauer commitment makes it less of a big deal now if Buster Posey decides not to play for Team USA in March. A Mauer-Posey tag team would be awesome, but Mauer starting with Matt Wieters as a backup would be pretty good as well.

Wright is one of Team USA’s two best options at third base, Evan Longoria being the other. Longoria’s status for the tournament is clear.

The WBC announced 28 commitments in all today. Along with the two for the USA are:

Australia: Liam Hendriks, Grant Balfour
Brazil: Yan Gomes, Andre Rienzo
Canada: Justin Morneau
Chinese Taipei: Hong-Chih Kuo
China: Wei Wang, Ray Chang
Dominican Republic: Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes
Italy: Jason Grilli, Alex Liddi
Japan: Masahiro Tanaka, Shinnosuke Abe
Korea: Seung Yeop Lee, Dan Ho Lee
Mexico: Adrian Gonzalez, Sergio Romo
Netherlands: Andruw Jones, Roger Bernadina
Puerto Rico: Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina
Spain: Engel Beltre, Francisco Figueroa
Venezuela: Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval

Angel Pagan goes from fringe regular to $40 million player

Angel Pagan

The Mets were strongly considering non-tendering Angel Pagan rather than pay him $5 million or so for 2012. Instead, they found a taker for him in the Giants, who sent back fellow center fielder Andres Torres and right-hander Ramon Ramirez. It proved to be a great deal for San Francisco, as Pagan proved key in the leadoff spot for the world champs. Meanwhile, the two players the Mets got in return aren’t expected back for 2013.

Pagan will be back with the Giants, of course, courtesy of the new four-year, $40 million deal he agreed to Monday. The 31-year-old’s annual salary will slightly top the $9.8 million he’s made the last three years combined.

For 2013, it seems like a worthy price. Pagan’s .288/.338/.440 line from last season matches up quite well with what he did in 2009 and ’10 before a disappointing 2011 campaign. Plus, Pagan is a fine center fielder, just a bit short of Gold Glove quality. He is a $10 million player right now.

On the other hand, it’s not at all likely that he’ll still be a $10 million player by the time 2015 and ’16 come around. At 31, Pagan should be just wrapping up his prime years now.

According to Baseball Reference, the 10 players most similar to Pagan through age 30 are Felix Jose, Roy Weatherly, Gene Moore, Alex Ochoa, Chris Singleton, Lee Maye, Johnny Grubb, Mitch Webster, Al Zarilla and Irv Noren.

Not one guy from that list was a quality regular from age 31 onwards. Grubb played eight more years and Maye and Webster lasted six more, but they were part-timers. Ochoa was all done in the majors by that age. The other nine averaged 1.7 WAR for the rest of their careers after age 31.

Perhaps that’s not the best list, though. How about this one. Pagan is one of 17 center fielders to post OPSs between .720-.780, hit fewer than 50 homers and steal more than 50 bases from ages 28-30 (Pagan had a .749 OPS, 26 HR and 98 SB from 28-30). Here’s how that group did from 31 onwards:

Matty Alou: .300/.339/.372, 100 OPS+ in 2,400 AB
Marvin Benard: .247/.290/.356, 71 OPS+ in 194 AB
Willie Davis: .288/.316/.425, 109 OPS+ in 3,534 AB
Steve Finley: .267/.333/.471, 106 OPS+ in 6,033 AB
Doug Glanville: .246/.281/.329, 60 OPS+ in 830 AB
Marquis Grissom: .264/.303/.416, 86 OPS+ in 3,817 AB
Ken Landreaux: .239/.295/.348, 78 OPS+ in 465 AB
Brian McRae: .218/.327/.360, 75 OPS+ in 403 AB
Amos Otis: .275/.339/.422, 109 OPS+ in 2,757 AB
Dode Paskert: .260/.340/.365, 107 OPS+ in 3,644 AB
Mickey Rivers: .304/.328/.392, 103 OPS+ in 1,719 AB
Burt Shotten: .260/.353/.320, 104 OPS+ in 2,045 AB
Roy Thomas: .265/.379/.319, 116 OPS+ in 2,266 AB
Milt Thompson: .256/.327/.359, 88 OPS+ in 1,731 AB
Cesar Tovar: .267/.329/.339, 93 OPS+ in 1,975 AB
Devon White: .272/.331/.435, 100 OPS+ in 3,232 AB

Now that’s a better list. I probably could have thrown out Thomas, Paskert and Shotton, all of whom played in the deadball era, but of the remaining 13, there are seven guys who remained pretty productive, depending on what you want your cutoff there to be. The Giants would certainly be pleased if Pagan aged like White.

Regardless, it may be worth paying Pagan $10 million to be a fourth or fifth outfielder in 2016 if he comes through again in 2013. Better if this contract had been a three-year deal, but at least he’s not overpaid immediately.

Padres official: Chase Headley won’t be traded

Chase Headley

That’s the report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, so Yankees fans best set their hearts on someone else. Sherman quotes as unnamed Padres official saying, “we’re not going to move (Chase) Headley.”

Headley was being talked about as a candidate to replace the injured Alex Rodriguez at third base for the Bombers.

The 28-year-old Headley entered 2012 as a solid regular and ended it as the National League’s RBI leader. he hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 homers and 115 RBI for the Padres. The 31 homers were four more than he hit the previous three seasons combined.

As a result of the big season, Headley figures to see his $3.475 million salary jump to $8 million or more in arbitration this winter. He’s two years away from free agency. The Padres will likely explore a long-term deal with him and could revisit trading him next summer if they can’t get anything done.

Scott Hairston has six suitors, holds out for two-year deal

Scott Hairston

7:50 p.m. EST update: Jon Morosi says he erred earlier in reporting the Tigers’ offer to Hairston:

5:25 p.m. EST update: And now’s Adam Rubin is chiming back in, saying Hairston “will not be a Tiger.”

5:15 p.m. EST update: A source told’s Jon Morosi that the Tigers have offered Hairston a two-year deal. He’d likely form a platoon with Andy Dirks in left field if signed.


Free agent Scott Hairston may yet choose to return to the Mets, but he’s also drawing interest from the Cardinals, Giants, Indians, Tigers and Yankees, according to’s Adam Rubin.

The 32-year-old Hairston is holding out for the first multiyear deal of his career after making $1.1 million and hitting .263/.299/.504 with 20 homers and 57 RBI in 377 at-bats with the Mets last year.

Older brother Jerry Hairston Jr. got his first multiyear deal at age 35 last winter when he signed with the Dodgers for two years and $6 million.

Scott offers plenty of pop in a part-time role. The Tigers and Yankees would both likely use him as a starter against left-handers, whereas the Cardinals would want him more as insurance in case of an injury to Carlos Beltran or another outfielder.

Dodgers, Rangers setting up to be top bidders for Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman hears that the Rangers are “right there” with the Dodgers in the bidding for Zack Greinke, with the Nationals possibly still in the mix and the Angels nearly out of it.

Jon Heyman of doesn’t see anyone hanging with the Dodgers, though:

But it seems pretty clear who is going to offer Greinke the biggest deal. The Dodgers seem determined to sign him, no matter the cost. As Dodgers president Stan Kasten said, “We are the opposite of the mystery team.”

The Braves have also touched base with Greinke, and Atlanta may well be the right-hander’s preferred destination given similar deals. However, the Braves aren’t likely to come in close to the Dodgers’ bid, especially not after splurging for B.J. Upton. Besides, their rotation is pretty good as is.

Greinke is certainly going to top Matt Cain’s five-year, $112.5 million deal and land the biggest contract for a right-handed pitcher in major league history. The real question is whether he’ll also surpass CC Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million deal and get the largest pitching contract overall.