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Friday, March 30, 2012

Phillies: For Juan Pierre, wait is over as he makes the team

It ain’t baseball unless Juan Pierre is playing it (plus there’s that swell Caught Stealing record thingee)!

Juan Pierre was willing to admit this much: It’s weird. The 34-year-old outfielder was guaranteed a job in 11 previous seasons. He batted 711 times and played in all but four games last season with the Chicago White Sox. But across all of baseball, his best offer this winter was a guarantee from the Phillies that he could play his way onto the roster.

On Thursday, Pierre officially did just that.

His contract was added to the 40-man roster, meaning Pierre will line up with his Phillies teammates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on opening day.

The Phillies are now on the hook for his entire $800,000 salary in 2012.

“We definitely feel like Juan can help us,” manager Charlie Manuel said.

 

Repoz Posted: March 30, 2012 at 06:06 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies

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   1. Textbook Editor Posted: March 30, 2012 at 07:45 AM (#4092759)
“We definitely feel like Juan can help us,” manager Charlie Manuel said.


If the Phillies need Pierre's kind of 'help,' they're in big trouble.
   2. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 30, 2012 at 07:55 AM (#4092762)
It is weird that he was guaranteed a job for the past 11 seasons.
   3. Bob Evans Posted: March 30, 2012 at 08:13 AM (#4092765)
It's actually not so weird that he was given *a* job in MLB; what's weird was the jobs he was given.
   4. bfan Posted: March 30, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4092767)
Aren't fast players whose primary skill is batting average always over-valued , at least in the popular press? Sticking him on your team because the local sports radio guys say "he can steal you a base" and "you can count on him to hit .280 for you" seems like the comfortable thing to do for GMs.
   5. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: March 30, 2012 at 08:22 AM (#4092768)
If the Phillies need Pierre's kind of 'help,' they're in big trouble.

Seems like a perfectly reasonable bench outfielder. Decent glove, good speed, not terrible on-base skills. I wouldn't want to give the guy 700 plate appearances, but as a guy who starts once or twice a week, he's no worse than Ben Francisco.
   6. Lassus Posted: March 30, 2012 at 08:24 AM (#4092771)
I'm not ssaying it should have been the Mets, but I still find the amount of people who picked the Phillies in the prediction thread to take the NL East to be a bit odd. Case in point being Juan Pierre.
   7. Tristram Posted: March 30, 2012 at 08:40 AM (#4092774)
It's actually not so weird that he was given *a* job in MLB; what's weird was the jobs he was given.

Juan Pierre: head groundskeeper for your Philadelphia Phillies!
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 30, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4092783)
Pierre's another one of those guys like Nick Punto or Jeff Francoeur. For all the abuse we love to heap on them they have some worth, it's just that playing 155 games and getting 650 at bats isn't that worth. Put them in the right role and they are probably pretty useful. I think Dan Lee is right, part time player, occasional pinch hitter (I like high average, low K guys in pinch hitting roles) and pinch runner he can help the Phils.
   9. zonk Posted: March 30, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4092788)
Pierre's another one of those guys like Nick Punto or Jeff Francoeur. For all the abuse we love to heap on them they have some worth, it's just that playing 155 games and getting 650 at bats isn't that worth. Put them in the right role and they are probably pretty useful. I think Dan Lee is right, part time player, occasional pinch hitter (I like high average, low K guys in pinch hitting roles) and pinch runner he can help the Phils.


Sure - for the most part, a good pinch-hitter is hacker, not a take-and-rake type...

However, I must say -- getting those last 980 hits from a part-time role is going to be tough. I'm rooting for it, just for the BBTF thread we'll get in 10-15 years.... or will the internet have fully evolved into virtual fisticuffs by then?
   10. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 30, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4092790)
Seems like a perfectly reasonable bench outfielder. Decent glove, good speed, not terrible on-base skills. I wouldn't want to give the guy 700 plate appearances, but as a guy who starts once or twice a week, he's no worse than Ben Francisco.


Five years ago - maybe even three years ago - Juan Pierre was a guy who was a perfectly cromulent major-league outfielder who was simply being given too much playing time. But the last two years, he's had a very empty sub-.280 batting average, he hasn't played an inning in CF (and it's not like the White Sox were running out an iron man All-Star there - they were playing Alex Rios, Alejandro De Aza, and a little bit of Brent Lillibridge there instead of Pierre). Last year, he led the league in CS for the 7th time (with 17), but his successful steals plunged to a career low (27). Ben Francisco is a much, much better baseball player than Juan Pierre is at this point.
   11. TomH Posted: March 30, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4092805)
as is Domonic ("AAA") Brown
   12. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 30, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4092808)
I wouldn't want to give the guy 700 plate appearances, but as a guy who starts once or twice a week, he's no worse than Ben Francisco.


At this point, Juan Pierre can't throw a ball the length of an efficiency apartment.
   13. ColonelTom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4092814)
Seems like a perfectly reasonable bench outfielder. Decent glove, good speed, not terrible on-base skills. I wouldn't want to give the guy 700 plate appearances,

He won't get 700, but I would put the over/under at 300, and he will hurt the team in that role. Cholly keeps heaping praise on him (and Hector Luna). The horror, the horror!
   14. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 30, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4092822)
A guy in another forum was listing the potential free agent options to replace Michael Bourn in Atlanta, assuming he asks too much next winter. He listed Juan Pierre. I was not amused.
   15. formerly dp Posted: March 30, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4092834)
or will the internet have fully evolved into virtual fisticuffs by then?

From what I've read, most of the virtual touch techs are designed for handshakes, not punches. I can't imagine wanting to put a peripheral on my desk that punches me in the face when I piss someone off. There is this thing, which feels like getting punched by a weak person with small fists. Supposedly they're working on a helmet version, but trying to figure out a way around all of the potential lawsuits...

I like the new handle, Sam.
   16. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 30, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4092836)
Domonic ("AAA") Brown


Please tell me his nickname is Possession.
   17. OsunaSakata Posted: March 30, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4092882)
I'm not ssaying it should have been the Mets, but I still find the amount of people who picked the Phillies in the prediction thread to take the NL East to be a bit odd. Case in point being Juan Pierre.


The Phillies pitching depth still impresses many people. And the fans of the other three teams not named the Mets are only cautiously predicting a wild card. The Braves have to make up a 13 game difference and the Nats and Marlins were below .500. It's tough to call a Phillies collpase of that size.
   18. Textbook Editor Posted: March 30, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4092892)
The main problem with Pierre is his presence seems to lead managers into playing him, which is exactly the wrong thing to do with him... And if he's your "break glass in case of emergency" OF, you've planned horribly for a breaking-glass situation.

God help the Phillies if he starts out hot--he may well get 400 ABs if that happens, which would be just a horrible situation.
   19. just plain joe Posted: March 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4092911)
At this point, Juan Pierre can't throw a ball the length of an efficiency apartment.


Ah, he can just "Mickey Rivers" the ball back in. I would think Pierre's rag arm would be far down on the list of things to worry about if he has to play semi-regularly for the Phillies.
   20. steagles Posted: March 30, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4092915)
Seems like a perfectly reasonable bench outfielder. Decent glove, good speed, not terrible on-base skills. I wouldn't want to give the guy 700 plate appearances, but as a guy who starts once or twice a week, he's no worse than Ben Francisco.
he's got a terrible glove at this point, i thought. he's lost some speed, and his arm is a wet noodle.


but pierre has kind of been an object of the front office's desire for the last dozen years, and now that they have him, and now that his contract is guaranteed, the main problem with this that i see is that i don't know whether amaro would be willing to cut bait with him if he proves he can't play. i get the feeling that this might be an "in for a penny, in for a pound" type thing, and that since he made it this far, he's going to be on the roster, for better or worse, until september.
   21. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4092932)
I would think Pierre's rag arm would be far down on the list of things to worry about if he has to play semi-regularly for the Phillies.


The problem is, he's lost foot-speed and was never a great outfielder outside of that, so he really can't play CF anymore. His arm is really horrific (I'm pretty sure Johnny Damon has a better arm), such that you really don't want to put him in RF if at all possible. Which leaves him really only able to play LF. Especially given his offensive (non)contribution, you'd really like a bit more flexibility in a backup outfielder.

The idea of Juan Pierre - "decent glove, good speed, not terrible on-base skills" - is an excellent 5th outfielder. The problem is just that Juan Pierre isn't that player any more.
   22. Lassus Posted: March 30, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4092943)
The Phillies pitching depth still impresses many people. And the fans of the other three teams not named the Mets are only cautiously predicting a wild card. The Braves have to make up a 13 game difference and the Nats and Marlins were below .500. It's tough to call a Phillies collpase of that size.

This makes a lot of sense, but pitchers go down, and seemingly everyone else on the Phils already HAS gone down. If half your team is injured and you don't finish first because of it, that's not a collapse, that's just a Juan Pierre starting CF circumstance, IMO, I guess. My only point was that 1st place in the East seems far from a lock for them.
   23. formerly dp Posted: March 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4092946)
The idea of Juan Pierre - "decent glove, good speed, not terrible on-base skills" - is an excellent 5th outfielder. The problem is just that Juan Pierre isn't that player any more.

Speaking of Endy Chavez, it's too bad he's going to be wasted on the Orioles this year.
   24. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4092955)
The Hunter Pence trade looked like an extravagance last year but now it looks essential for repeating as division champions. We already have Freddy Galvis playing every day and LF/1B split between Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, John Mayberry Jr. (.191/.247/.250 in 68 spring training at-bats) and Jim Thome. Domonic Brown has apparently suffered some sort of wasting disease or revealed himself as an impostor or secretly broken both legs in eight places or something. Come back Ross Gload! Come back Greg Dobbs!
   25. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4092959)
Domonic Brown has apparently suffered some sort of wasting disease or revealed himself as an impostor or something.
\

Apparently his defense makes Raul Ibanez look graceful out there.
   26. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4092964)
The idea of Juan Pierre - "decent glove, good speed, not terrible on-base skills" - is an excellent 5th outfielder. The problem is just that Juan Pierre isn't that player any more.


It's not like they just gave him a 2-year contract and handed him the job because of his reputation. He had to beat out Scott Podsednik, Lou Montanez and the Kamloops Komet himself, Tyson Gillies.
   27. ColonelTom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4092977)
From the comments made in camp, Pierre beat out Podsednik because they wanted a top-of-the-lineup guy, and they felt Pierre was that guy and Podsednik wasn't because Pierre is better at getting on base and stealing bases. Pierre has a .343 lifetime OBP; Podsednik's is .340. Podsednik, certainly at this stage, is a much better base stealer than Pierre, who manages to be an out machine on the bases as well as at the plate. Why is Pierre seen as a leadoff hitter and Podsednik not? Pierre has significantly less power. That, apparently, is a virtue.

It makes my head hurt.
   28. formerly dp Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4092981)
Pierre has a .343 lifetime OBP; Podsednik's is .340. Podsednik, certainly at this stage, is a much better base stealer than Pierre, who manages to be an out machine on the bases as well as at the plate. Why is Pierre seen as a leadoff hitter and Podsednik not? Pierre has significantly less power.

Are they equally ineffective on D at this point? Maybe they could carry both! And hit them #1 and #2! It'd give the Mets a fighting chance...
   29. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4092982)
It's not like they just gave him a 2-year contract and handed him the job because of his reputation. He had to beat out Scott Podsednik, Lou Montanez and the Kamloops Komet himself, Tyson Gillies


This makes me feel a lot better about the great Jordan Parraz vs. Drew Sutton debate in Orlando.
   30. ColonelTom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4092999)
I get the impression Pods is a little better defensively because his arm is bad but not comically bad like Pierre's.

It worries me that I am actually rooting for a Bobby Abreu reunion with the Phils, now that his trade to Cleveland has fallen through. I'd take his atrocious defense for the possibility of offensive upside, though.

Of course, if we're going to accept awful defense in LF in exchange for offensive upside, there's this guy in Lehigh Valley....
   31. PreservedFish Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4093010)
I always wanted to know how good the arms of Damon and Pierre are in comparison to an average guy. I mean, pro athletes are superhuman, and I cannot throw as hard as the old coaches do at BP. Is Damon only inept when compared to pros, or is he inept always?
   32. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4093018)
What about the arm of Juan Pierre? How did it get so bad?
I wonder if he throws like an ordinary dad.
   33. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4093040)
Is Damon only inept when compared to pros, or is he inept always?
I'm 5'6", 30 years old, stopped playing baseball after high school, and have some shoulder damage - and I still have a better arm than Johnny Damon. Something about his technique doesn't allow him to get any carry on his throws. I assume the same is true with Pierre.
   34. MM1f Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4093046)
Apparently his defense makes Raul Ibanez look graceful out there.


It is amazing and hilarious that a guy who could have played wide receiver at Miami or FSU can't play decent defense in right field.

Baseball is a funny game.
   35. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 30, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4093048)
What kind of world is this where Juan Pierre can earn a roster spot, but Johnny Damon is left looking?
   36. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4093065)
A world where demanding $5M and a starting job tends to make teams look elsewhere?
   37. PreservedFish Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4093074)
#33 - How do you know for sure?
   38. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4093086)
It is amazing and hilarious that a guy who could have played wide receiver at Miami or FSU can't play decent defense in right field.


A thought he was in LF, with Pence in right.
   39. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 30, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4093115)
Brown was mostly RF throughout his minor-league career and was RF in the majors last year until they traded for Pence. Then they sent him down to AAA and put him in LF. For whatever reason he can't get the hang of it and is much better in RF.
   40. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 30, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4093138)
LF is a tough read if you're not used to it. LF requires a better defender at reading balls. RF requires the better throwing arm.
   41. Danko Posted: March 30, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4093221)
Come on, folks. He's going to be their 5th outfielder. Repeat: 5th outfielder. Being reasonably fast, kinda playing CF, and hitting an empty .260 is what an ordinary, run-of-the-mill 5th outfielder does, and $800K is what an ordinary, run-of-the-mill 5th outfielder earns. He is not going to have a starting job. I suspect he'll end up with 200 ABs this year, and about 4 trillion whining message board posts, which equates to 20 billion per AB.

Do you know who was the 5th outfielder on the 2008 club that won the World Series? So Taguchi. Same skillset, same reputation for scrappiness, four years older than Pierre is now. How many ABs did he get? 103. What did he do with them? .220/.283/.297.

Pierre will probably do better than .220/.283/.297, but it's completely irrelevant. Whatever the Phillies achieve (or fail to achieve) this year, it will have zero to do with this signing. If Pierre ends up putting up 400 replacement-level ABs, that's because something awful happened that required a replacement-level player to step in. That the replacement-level player happened to be Pierre (as opposed to Scott Podsednik) is not where the problem lies.
   42. calhounite Posted: March 30, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4093278)
Right field requires a fat slug so that the 2 balls hit in his direction won't be counted as errors because of the fat slug exception based on the unreasonableness of expecting a fat slug to like move his carcass over a couple yards. An example would be Nelson Cruz Texas.

Left field gets action. Lots of it. A guy better know how to catch a fly.

Yea, Texas sympathsizer.
   43. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 30, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4093355)
Danko, one of the issues about Pierre is that with the state of the Phillies health, the uncertainty that John Mayberry is the reincarnation of Joe Charbonneau, but without an award, he is likely to get waaayyy too many ABs. FWIW, Podsednik looked much better in ST but they had their hearts set on Pierre.

Dom Brown was shaky in RF in his brief set of appearances in the majors. He just can't seem to judge a ball off the bat.
EDIT: But he is impressively horrendous in LF.
   44. ColonelTom Posted: March 30, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4093361)
Come on, folks. He's going to be their 5th outfielder. Repeat: 5th outfielder.

Mayberry and Nix have been awful this spring, and Charlie Manuel is saying things like "There are places in the lineup where I like Pierre" while starting him in LF and leading him off. Manuel is also going on about Pierre's ability to hit lefties, which may even put a platoon in doubt if Mayberry doesn't heat up quickly. Manuel has also been going on about the need to bunt runners over and play "small ball" without Utley and Howard. I could easily see Pierre getting 400+ ABs, perhaps a lot more.
   45. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 30, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4093369)
I didn't even notice the Ben Francisco trade until about two months after it happened, but now it looks like an act of total insanity.
   46. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 30, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4093371)
Manuel is also going on about Pierre's ability to hit lefties


To be fair, Juan Pierre's career OPS is identical v. LHP and v. RHP (.708). This would add to his versatility and usefulness as a 5th-OF/PH/PR if he were actually any good at hitting either lefties or righties at this point in his career (he actually hit LHP better in 2011 - .766 v. .621, although that's surely just small-sample shenanigans).
   47. Tippecanoe Posted: March 30, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4093394)
fat slug exception based on the unreasonableness of expecting a fat slug to like move his carcass over a couple yards. An example would be Nelson Cruz Texas.


If only they had traded that fat slug for someone with some range, like Juan Pierre.
   48. Ron J Posted: March 30, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4093404)
#42 Speed is not unimportant in right. Back in the mid to late 90s the right-fielder least frequently run on wasn't any of the guys with the big guns (like Jay Buhner for instance) but Orlando Merced who had the best combination of arm strength, speed and agility. He was more likely to be in a position to make the throw than guys like Buhner.

As Bill James noted, there is a minimum speed required for right. Too slow and you're turning singles into doubles.

And I happen to have the breakdown for balls in play by field for 1996.

LG  LF   RF
AL 8187 8214
NL 6762 7463 


Again, as noted by Bill James, the LF is generally chosen by default. The guy with the best range goes to center unless his arm is hopeless -- in which case he goes to left. The right fielder is chosen primarily for the strength of his arm. Unless he's too slow (Frank Howard for instance supposedly had a very strong arm. Just rarely came up because he wasn't any good at getting to the ball) in which case he goes to left.
   49. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: April 02, 2012 at 04:27 AM (#4094545)
#33 - How do you know for sure?
The same way Damon can be sure he is worthy of playing every day, of course.
   50. baudib Posted: April 02, 2012 at 05:00 AM (#4094547)
2011 Phillies

IF Wilson Valdez 300 PA .249 .294 .341
OF Michael Martinez 234 PA .196 .258 .282
C Brian Schneider 139 PA .176 .246 .256
OF Ross Gload 118 PA .257 .276 .327
IF Pete Orr 104 AB .219 .279 .250

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