SAN FRANCISCO -- Continuing to ease the salary arbitration burden that looms ahead of them, the Giants agreed to terms with outfielder Angel Pagan on a one-year, $4.85 million contract Monday.
Pagan's accord trimmed San Francisco's list of potential arbitration cases to six: Right-handers Tim Lincecum, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo; outfielders Melky Cabrera and Nate Schierholtz; and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Though that ranks among the largest such contingents the Giants ever have confronted, it's a fraction of what they potentially faced as the offseason began, when they had 13 arbitration-eligibles.
The Giants still must grapple with what could be among the most challenging arbitration cases in history. When teams exchange proposals for one-year contracts with arbitration-eligible performers on Wednesday, one of the most-watched sets of figures will be those involving Lincecum, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner who could approach or exceed $20 million annually.
Pagan, who earned $3.5 million last year, is a leading candidate to play center field and bat leadoff -- the role the Giants initially envisioned for Andres Torres, who was sent to the Mets in last month's trade that brought Pagan to San Francisco.
In 541 games spanning six Major League seasons, Pagan owns a .279 batting average with 33 home runs, 209 RBIs and 95 stolen bases in 121 attempts. That includes a .262 average with a career-worst .694 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) for the Mets last year.
The Giants hope that Pagan, 30, will be driven to sustain one of his best performances this year, since he's eligible for free agency after the season ends.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.