Giants' table-setters set contract table for each other
Pagan, Scutaro in contact through negotiations, hoping to stay in same lineup
SAN FRANCISCO -- During their contract negotiations with the Giants, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro proved that what happens on the field can shape what happens off the field, too.As if they were collaborating on a hit-and-run or double-steal, Pagan and Scutaro, the top two hitters in the Giants' batting order, maintained constant contact with each other, either through text messaging or phone calls throughout the bargaining process. This reflected their shared desire to keep playing together and return to the World Series winners. "I told him, 'If you sign with the Giants, I'll sign with the Giants," Pagan said Friday, when he and Scutaro visited AT&T Park to undergo -- and pass -- their required physical examinations following the agreements they reached with the club earlier this week. "We were trying to stay here," Scutaro said, "but we were trying to see what opportunities we had." The Giants ultimately gave both players the most lucrative and secure opportunities. Pagan said that San Francisco was the first team to offer him a four-year deal. He quickly accepted the $40 million package Monday.
"I was hoping that the Giants would be the first ones to step in," said Pagan, who acknowledged that he would have given San Francisco a chance to match any competing four-year offer.
"The Giants were my No. 1 priority," said the switch-hitter, who batted .288 with career highs in runs (95), doubles (38) and triples (15).Then it was Scutaro's turn, as if he were batting in his customary second spot behind leadoff man Pagan. "Once [Pagan] signed, he said, 'I want to play with you again,'" Scutaro said. The St. Louis Cardinals made a serious run at Scutaro, who batted .500 against them to win Most Valuable Player honors in the National League Championship Series. Realizing that, at age 37, this could be his final contract, Scutaro had to listen when the Cards offered him a two-year deal with an average annual value exceeding what he eventually received from the Giants. San Francisco's willingness to add a third year to the deal and sweeten it to $20 million made the difference for Scutaro, whose agreement was announced Tuesday. That figure nearly matched the approximately $22 million Scutaro earned as a Major Leaguer from 2002-11. Scutaro expressed sincere gratitude for what he called the "blessings" that entered his life since Colorado traded him to the Giants, for whom he hit .362 with 44 RBIs in 61 games. "Looking back after eight years in the Minors, a lot of people didn't even expect me to make it to the big leagues," Scutaro said. "Now, here I am, with 10 years in the big leagues and a new contract." Despite their financial windfall, both will have something to prove in 2013, as the Giants try to avoid the letdown they endured in '11 after capturing the World Series the year before. "I'm a firm believer that the better you are, the higher the expectations," Pagan said. "I know that the expectations are going to be very high, and I want to give the best I can give to the fans." Though Scutaro will turn 40 on Oct. 30, 2015, which coincides with the expiration of his contract, he expressed confidence in his ability to remain productive throughout the duration of his deal. "It all depends on health," Scutaro said. He jokingly added, "Omar [Vizquel] played until 55 [actually, 45]. He's in better shape than me, too."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.