Angel Pagan doesn’t know if he’s going to play center field or right field for the New York Mets this season. And he doesn’t care either, as long as he’s helping his team win games.
Pagan played all three outfield positions for the Mets in 2010, but made most of his starts in center with Carlos Beltran recovering from offseason knee surgery. Pagan wowed the Mets with his defense in Beltran’s absence, setting up what could be a stiff competition between the two for the position during spring training.
“I talked to Terry [Collins] and he said he wanted to sit down with me and Carlos and decide [on who starts in center and who starts in right] before spring training is over and see what is gonna happen,” Pagan said Tuesday after being honored at the 31st annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in Manhattan. "But whatever does happen is for the best of the team, so I’m happy with that.”
Pagan, who played 93 of his 151 games in center, enjoyed a career season, batting .290 with 11 home runs, 69 RBIs as well as 37 stolen bases, good enough for second in the National League in that department.
He said he’s talked to Beltran, a player that he greatly admires, during the offseason. However, the two haven’t discussed where they’re going to play in 2011.
“We’ve never touched base on [positions] because that’s a situation that we have to discuss in spring training, according to how he feels," Pagan said. "I can tell you that right now he’s feeling pretty healthy. He’s close to 100 percent, but that’s the decision of the team whether I’m going to play center or he’s going to play center. I think I’m ready for any opportunity. I just want to get to spring training and play baseball. It doesn’t matter where that is.”
On Monday, the Mets and Pagan avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year, $3.5 million pact. Pagan is under team control until 2012.
Pagan said he would eventually like a long-term deal, but wasn’t upset that the Mets were only willing to make a one-year commitment to him.
“That’s gonna happen in the future. I’m not worried about that,” Pagan said. “I’m worried about right now. It’s only a one-year deal, but whatever happens -- if that blessing [of a long-term deal] comes, then amen. But we’re talking about a one-year deal and that’s what I’m gonna focus on.”
One thing Pagan isn’t focusing on, though, is the tumultuous ownership situation.
“I don’t worry about that. That’s their problem,” Pagan said. “That’s all I can say. I have nothing to say about that.”
Pagan is ready for spring training to begin and wants to help the Mets prove their critics wrong.
“I’m happy because I have an opportunity,” Pagan said. “That’s more important than anything else. I have an opportunity to go back and help this team. We’re looking for a turnaround. We’re trying to go beyond expectations. A lot of people think we don’t have a good team, but we’re gonna prove a lot of people wrong. We do have a good team and we’re gonna move forward.”