At first glance, the similarities between Andres Torres and Angel Pagan are striking; both are switch-hitters; both have primarily played center field in their careers; and both were non-tender candidates coming off down years.
Pagan really seems like a near identical version of Torres without the amazing defense.
In center field, over his career, Pagan rates at -2.7 runs by Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). The plus/minus metric (DRS, defensive runs saved) has Pagan at +16 career runs in CF, so there is some differing opinions among the metrics. I think we can split the difference and call Pagan and average-ish defender in CF. He rated very well in 2010 by UZR (+9 runs above average), but was terrible in 2011 by UZR (-14.3 runs). DRS was less harsh on Pagan in 2011 (-1 run). Torres, by comparison, has been worth nearly one full win (by UZR standards) per season on defense. It seems pretty clear that he’s the better defender. So, in that regard, losing Torres hurts the outfield.
Offensively speaking, Pagan carries a career batting line of .279/.331/.418. Depending on if you use OPS+ or wRC+ he’s been a better than league average hitter by one to four percentage points. He’s hit right-handed pitching (106 wRC+) better than left-handed pitching (85 wRC+) in his career.
And, much like Torres, Pagan profiles as a pretty good baserunner. By FanGraphs’ baserunning metric, he’s at 6.8 runs above average over his career; Andres Torres is at 10 runs above average over his career by the same metric.
In essence, the Giants traded Andres Torres for a younger clone version with slightly worse defense. Though, that’s not to say it’s necessarily a bad trade. For one, this should move Melky Cabrera out of CF, which for Giants’ pitchers and their ERAs is a good, nay, fantastic thing. Losing Ramirez impacts the bullpen (third best projected reliever by ZiPS), but the Giants have been pretty decent at digging up relief arms over the past couple of years.
I think, all things considered, the Giants would have been better just tendering (and keeping) Torres and Ramirez, but it was clear that the team wasn’t going to go in that direction, at least with Torres. This is probably the best option to not having Torres on the team. Damning with faint praise, maybe, but Pagan has been a pretty good player at times in his career and I really, really like the idea of moving (and I’m assuming, here) Cabrera out of CF.
So hooray for Melky Cabrera, Not-CF’er.