Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Pagan signs with Giants

Angel Pagan joins B.J. Upton was free agent center fielders with new homes. So who will play center field for the Phillies in 2013?

Pagan signs with Giants

San Francisco Giants´ Angel Pagan in action against the Arizona Diamondbacks during a baseball game on, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Francisco Giants' Angel Pagan in action against the Arizona Diamondbacks during a baseball game on, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Last week, B.J. Upton signed with the Braves and Denard Span was traded to the Nationals.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the center field options are likely to dwindle even further for the Phillies. Rosenthal reported Monday that Angel Pagan was close to re-signing with the San Francisco Giants.

Jon Heyman followed that up by reporting that the deal was done.

The Phils had interest in both Upton and Pagan. The Phils desperately need a center fielder.

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So now what?

Michael Bourn, who was drafted and developed by the Phillies, remains on the open market. But with Scott Boras representing him, Bourn is likely going to be seeking a contract richer than the five-year, $75.25 million deal Upton got from Atlanta.

And - just an opinion here - that doesn’t sound like the kind of money the Phils would want to spend on a power-deprived outfielder.

Maybe the Phillies would be better suited to spend money on a corner outfielder and hit the bargain bin for a defensive-minded center fielder.

Such as…

If you look beyond his struggles in the postseason, Nick Swisher has been a productive hitter. A switch hitter with a good approach at the plate (.361 career OBP), Swisher would seem to be an ideal replacement for Hunter Pence in right field.

Or perhaps Ruben Amaro Jr. and Co. take a risk on the biggest fish in the free agent pond…

Josh Hamilton is the most talented player on the market, and one of the most talented players in baseball, period. Does he come with baggage? Sure, his history of substance abuse would make one pause in considering a multi-year deal.

But do the rewards outweigh the risks? That's the question Amaro and the front office will have to answer for themselves. 

The Phils’ middle-of-the-order isn’t getting any younger and Chase Utley is due to be a free agent next winter. Money shouldn’t be an issue.

If Phils signed either Swisher or Hamilton (with the idea of Hamilton playing right), they could reach out to someone like Nyjer Morgan (.341 career OBP) via free agency or trade for Coco Crisp or Dexter Fowler (although Fowler wouldn’t come cheap).

Oh – Shane Victorino remains a free agent, too.

Ryan Lawrence Daily News Staff Writer
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