Monday, November 20, 2006

Juan Pierre Close To Signing With Dodgers?

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports reports that Juan Pierre is close to signing with the Dodgers for $9M/year. This would be a discount to Drew’s $11M/year deal (which had three years remaining before he chose to go back on his word opt out), but a heck of a lot more than Limited-Range Lofton’s $3.8M last year. Pierre's deal is reported to be long, potentially five years (which is sending a rock to the pit of my stomach as I write this).

As a sidebar, apparently one of the dominoes that would fall from this deal is Dave Roberts, who could then end up with the Giants. Reports had surfaced last week that the Giants had offered Pierre $30M for three years, so one would anticipate the Dodgers deal, if $9M/year, must be for a longer duration. Pierre earned $6M this year.

Pierre played in every game last year for the Cubs, and his numbers were .292 BA / .330 OBP / .388 SLG. All of these numbers were slightly below his career highs, as well as below Lofton's. He also swiped 58 bases (but was caught 20 times), had an Alex-Cora-like three home runs, and 40 RBI with 87 runs. Lofton's power numbers were the same, and he stole fewer bases but was also caught fewer times. All of Pierre's numbers are not outstanding (Pierre is known as a slap hitter, so this does nothing to solve our power bat hole), and on top of that he has a poor arm.

So given the comparable-to-worse offensive numbers, why sign Pierre for such a premium? I can only assume it's defense (Lofton's arm was not all that good either), as Pierre's range has to be better than Kenny's. Watching Lofton in center was like having a heart attack each time (particularly as he seemed to wait for hours to get a read on each ball). Chicago Cub fans didn't like Pierre because his numbers didn't merit leadoff hitter status--which hopefully would be avoided with LA given leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal.

Adding Pierre to the mix would give the Dodgers an outfield of Andre Ethier, Pierre, and Jason Repko, with Matt Kemp in the wings along with Jayson Werth (who asserts he will be back for 2007, but I'll believe it when I see it).

UPDATE: ESPN is now reporting (3.31pm PST) that it's a five-year $45M deal for Pierre, pending him passing a physical. Anybody know Jeff Gillooly's phone number? (Okay, maybe I'm not feeling that pessimistic about this, but five years is a long time. It's like, JD Drew length of time.)


Orel said...

Most Dodger Thoughts posters are up in arms about this potential signing. End of the world, etc. But we can also view it like last year's signing of Furcal: a statement signing designed to establish credibility with free agent pitchers and power hitters. At least Pierre is young, durable and fast. Plus his middle name is D'Vaughn, how cool is that?

Steve Sax said...

Hey, we're putting last names on the Dodgers' uniforms this year. Not middle names.

Lasorda said...

Apparently, it's a lot closer than we feared:

I just don't get this at all. How does this give the Dodgers "credibility" with free agents? That Neddie is foolish enough to give "D'Vaughn" $9MM a year for 5 years? And as far as being young, he's on the wrong side of 27. When he starts slowing down in his 30s, he's really going to be a drag on both the offense and payroll. One of his top comparables on his PECOTA card at Baseball Prospectus? Darren Erstad (post-2003). Shudder.

What happened to the plan of bringing along the youngsters? You mean to tell me that there aren't better uses for that $45MM over the next 5 years?

Orel said...

Would you have rather given Soriano eight years? Length of contract is driving negotiations this off-season. Just wait until we see what J.D. Drew gets—it'll make Pierre's contract look reasonable. I just hope Ned didn't give Pierre a no-trade clause.

As for the youngsters, Ned has stated he thinks Matt Kemp needs another half-season at AAA. Looks like he'll be moving to right field.

Steve Sax said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention that we still have Marlon Anderson in right field, who was spectacular for the Dodgers offensively upon joining the team.