Marred by injuries and inconsistency over the past two season, there has been speculation as to whether or not the San Francisco Giants would keep Angel Pagan as their starting center fielder in 2016.
Dealing with back and leg issues since 2013, Pagan had his worst season at the plate while a member of the Giants in 2015, slashing .262/.303/.332 with 27 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases in 133 games.
As San Francisco continues to diligently assess their options on the free-agent market at this week’s Winter Meetings, manager Bruce Bochy is confident that Pagan will be the team’s starting center fielder and leadoff man once again in 2016.
"Right now he’s our leadoff hitter," Bochy said Tuesday. "He had to deal with some injuries, but I liked what he did last month. He healed up. He’s a different player. I thought he was running well, covering ground like he did before the injury. So the plan is to lead him off."
While Bochy is planning to pencil him in as his Opening Day starter in center field, he believes Pagan could also play left field if necessary, as the Giants are in need of a left fielder after declining an option on last year’s left fielder Nori Aoki.
Despite the potential reasons to not be optimistic about Pagan, Bochy is unequivocally confident in him.
"Well, he’s our centerfielder. I think you have to keep the faith and belief; that’s always part of the equation when you look at guys that are signed and with you," Bochy said. "I know he’s looking at next year as a very big year for us, for him. He wants to come into spring training completely healthy. That’s why he had cleaned up with the knee at the end of the year, and he seems good to go."