Too soon on the headline? Eh, whatever.
Who is he?
Pagan is a 31 year old switch-hitting outfielder who quietly put together some solid seasons for bad teams in the National League before this year's playoff run with the San Francisco Giants. He has spent the last two seasons exclusively playing center field, but has experience in all three outfield positions from his time with the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.
Why should we care?
Speed, defense, and versatility. As mentioned above, Pagan has played all three outfield positions in his career, which lends itself well to being stuck in one of the two corner outfield slots in Comerica Park thanks to that stud named Austin Jackson. However, if Jackson were to spend time on the DL as he did in 2012, the Tigers would not have to rely on Quintin Berry playing out of his mind -- a feat unlikely to repeat itself, to put it nicely -- in order to stay afloat. By all accounts, Pagan is a pretty good defender. He has only had one season with a negative UZR and his highest defensive bWAR seasons were those in which he spent the most time in the corner outfield positions.
Pagan's speed will also be an asset on both sides of the ball. He covered a lot of ground roaming the outfield in AT&T Park, and Comerica Park's expansive outfield would provide many of the same opportunities as he had last season. He might not swipe another 29+ bases in the Tigers' offense -- especially if he is hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera -- but his ability to take the extra base is something sorely lacking on the current Tigers roster.
Also, it's worth noting that the Giants did not offer Pagan a qualifying offer, so the Tigers would not need to give up their first round draft pick if they sign him.
Why should we stay away?
2012 was only the second season of Pagan's career in which he played more than 150 games, so there are questions about his consistency and durability. There's always the chance that the "late bloomer" tag applies here, but it's tough to be too excited about a guy like this, especially when there aren't any eye-popping statistics that show some serious growth. He hit .288/.338/.440 this season with eight home runs and 15 triples, and that was the best offensive season of his career.
Going further into the statistics, we're not exactly looking at a premier table-setter here. Pagan's career on-base percentage is just .333, and while he has stolen 29 bases or more in each of the last three seasons, I would expect that figure to decline in the Tigers' offense. It's tough to say how quickly his speed will decline with age, but I wouldn't expect his deal to be long enough for that to be too big of a concern.
Will he end up in Detroit?
I doubt it. I don't think it will be for lack of trying on Dave Dombrowski's part, but I'd expect Giants GM Brian Sabean to open up the checkbook for Pagan in order to keep as much of the Giants' 2012 roster intact for 2013 (and beyond) as possible. Someone will overpay for Pagan; I just hope it's not the Tigers.