The Phillies have inked speedy outfielder Juan Pierre to a minor-league contract.
Last season, Pierre, 34, was still a serviceable player with the Chicago White Sox, although we know he is completely one-dimensional. He will give you slap hits and speed and not much else. Over 158 games, Pierre hit .279 in 711 plate appearances, however, his steals fell from 68 in 2010 to just 27 in 2011.
Among active players, Pierre has the most career stolen bases (554) and ranks 26th on the all-time list. And according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, he ranks No. 1 among active players in K/PA ratio (1 every 17.8 at-bats). Not much swinging and missing going on there.
That being said, I would rather the Phillies have inked Pierre and gone with him over signing Laynce Nix to a two-year deal. I feel as though this contract makes much more sense. Pierre will provide no power, but with your final outfield spot up in the air, plus the addition of mashers like Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton, it’s hardly a necessity.
All-in-all a low-risk, high-reward move by the Phillies that could pay dividends should one of the starting outfielders go out for an extended period of time. Pierre is clearly declining as a player, but for the price, it’s worth it to take a shot that he’s got something left in the tank as a backup. That said, the Phils still need to address the middle infielder spot that sits empty after the trade of WIlson Valdez. At this point, Michael Martinez is the only legit option.
Pierre’s numbers the last three seasons: