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Andres Torres Might Be Pretty Good


Last December, Sandy Alderson sent the much-maligned, oft-injured, colitis-afflicted Angel Pagan to San Francisco for center fielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez. Both Pagan and Torres had been terrific in 2010 and considerably less so in 2011, though in the abstract the Giants appeared to be getting the better player and were certainly getting the younger one, as Pagan is Torres's junior by four years. The Mets hoped they were getting a more consistent defensive player and one with a better reputation for, lacking a better expression, attention to the fundamentals.

It was all fun and games until Torres injured his left calf on Opening Day and would remain infirm for the next three-and-a-half weeks. He hit well in his first eleven games back — .325/.449/.475 — but followed that up with an abysmal 47-game stretch during which he hit .165/.282/.228. By the middle of June, his OPS was 150 or so points behind Pagan's and, with Ramirez equal parts ineffective and injured, Alderson seemed to have whiffed pretty badly on the swap.

The silver lining in Torres's offensive profile was his plate discipline. He was hitting for neither average nor power, but he was drawing plenty of walks and an optimist may have defensibly pointed to that as a portent of something less depressing. As luck1 would have it, Torres's performance improved considerably after the All-Star break, as he has hit .329/.421/.488 henceforth. For the season, his walk rate is the best on the team and he's become a pretty useful player for the Mets.

How does he stack up with Pagan? The two most well-known flavors of the ostensibly all-encompassing Wins Above Replacement player value estimators suggest that he does so fairly well.

Pagan 1.8 1.9 459
Torres 1.5 1.2 298

Pagan has basically had 50% more playing time than Torres, so if we adjust their value for playing time — which is basically stupid and unfair but serves a specific adjustment purpose here — their respective performances align quite well.

What's more, Torres has a little something extra that Pagan lacks, and I'm not talking about grission. Pagan is a free agent after this season while Torres remains under team control through next year, so if Torres can map his 2012 performance to date onto a healthy 2013, this deal may yet swing in the Mets' favor.

And if you're wondering, for his part Ramon Ramirez has been a replacement-level player, which is bad but not woeful and doesn't swing the value of the trade very much in either direction.

1 Literally, as Torres's batting average on balls in play turned dramatically in his favor after this point.