Sunday, February 11, 2007

OF Angel Pagan Remains Cubs Dark Horse Option

Switchhitting Cubs outfielder Angel Pagan should continue to be regarded as a viable option in what are likely ongoing talks to move veteran right fielder Jacque Jones. Jones has been openly shopped, and his name has never been withdrawn from trade talks.

An erroneous impression seems to have circulated that Pagan was something of a disappointment last season as he hit only .247. But what has been overlooked is that those numbers were put up almost entirely after Pagan was trying to find himself after an extensive stint on the injured list. Pagan was limited to only 170 at-bats after missing two and a half months.

What is more important is remembering that Pagan -- despite manager Dusty Baker's aversion to inexperienced help -- convincingly persuaded the former skipper to promote him by going 2-4 with a three-run homer to break up a shutout at the end of camp last year. This after the 24-year-old, 1999 Mets fourth round pick had had a sensational '06 camp, batting .367 with a .412 OBP, .700 slugging rate and 10 RBI. Healthy again as he arrives at camp in Mesa, Ariz., Pagan will look to pick up where he left off.

New manager Lou Piniella has balked at the idea of newly acquired star Alfonso Soriano playing center field, leaving Pagan a candidate if Jones should be dealt.