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IN THIS ISSUE

National League

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Signed RHP Jason Marquis to a one-year deal worth $3 million. [12/3]

The original Marquis-Padres relationship formed out of desperation. Marquis needed a job after wearing out his welcome in Minnesota, and the Padres needed a healthy starting pitcher. The results were better than anticipated, so much so that the Padres are willing to pay Marquis real money in order to return. One development worth eyeing is Marquis’ increased strikeout rate. He threw 61 percent sinkers with the Twins, but shaved it to 53 percent with the Padres in favor of more sliders and changeups. If the strikeouts stick, Marquis might be more than a back-of-the-rotation stabilizer.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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Signed OF-S Angel Pagan to a four-year deal worth $40 million. [12/3]

Another piece of San Francisco’s championship squad will stick around. Pagan’s new pact comes on the heels of B.J. Upton’s five-year deal with the Braves, worth more than $75 million. Upton is younger, and blessed with all youth’s perks, but you can make the argument that the two have performed equally well over the past three seasons. Pagan owns a slight edge in True Average and a larger lead in defense, if FRAA’s evaluations of the two are to be trusted. Factor in baserunning and Pagan’s lead widens. If it wasn’t obvious, Pagan’s greatest strength has been his ability to do many things well and few things poorly.

Of course, past results are not always indicative of future performance. The most worrisome aspects about Pagan are his age (he turns 32 in July) and the circumstances that led to his exit in New York, which remain unclear and puzzling. Pagan must have stopped doing what irked the Mets once he joined the Giants, or else the Giants don’t consider the actions damming. Whatever the case, San Francisco feels good enough about Pagan’s body and his personality to bet on him for four years.

An interesting subplot to keep an eye out for is what position Pagan is playing at the end of the contract. The Giants will start Gary Brown either in Double- or Triple-A, and it’s not a stretch to think he could knock on the door by the end of the campaign. From there, Pagan will presumably slide to a corner. For the time being, the Giants could have an outfield of Pagan, Hunter Pence, and Gregor Blanco, though don’t be surprised if they add another outfielder before spring arrives.