Juan Pierre is an average outfielder. At best.
He has no power.
He has a terrible arm.
The contract the Dodgers signed him to before last season was insane.
On that, we can all agree.
So it’s really no surprise that the Dodgers have opted to go with Andre Ethier, Andruw Jones and Matt Kemp in the outfield, relegating Pierre to the bench.
But is Pierre wrong to complain about being demoted? I’m not so sure.
Here’s what Pierre told the L.A. Times:
“If they want to go a different route,” Pierre said, “I can live with it and I have to understand it but it’s something I don’t get.”
When the Dodgers signed Pierre, they knew exactly what they were getting — and they were thrilled to have it. So what’s changed?
In the four seasons before he signed with the Dodgers, Pierre didn’t miss a game. Last season, with L.A., he played all 162.
In 2006, with the Cubs, he batted .292. With the Dodgers he hit .293.
With the Cubs, Pierre’s OBP was .330. Last year it was .331.
With the Cubs, Pierre struck out 38 times and walked 32 times. With the Dodgers, he struck out 37 times and walked 33 times.
With the Cubs, Pierre stole 58 bases. With the Dodgers, he stole 64.
In every way possible, Pierre lived up to reasonable expectations. He has been, if nothing else, consistent.
If you interviewed for a job, told your prospective employer exactly what he/she could expect over the next four years and then went out and did exactly what you promised you would do, wouldn’t you be pissed if the company all of a sudden decided that wasn’t good enough?
I’m not saying the Dodgers were wrong to bench Pierre. By playing Ethier, they’re making the team better.
I’m saying they were wrong to sign him in the first place. Their inability to evaluate free agents has placed Joe Torre and Juan Pierre in an impossible situation. Pierre wants to play, but he doesn’t want to break the contract he worked so hard to land. Torre wants the best team possible, but he knows a starting gig was promised to Pierre — and he knows Pierre has lived up to his end of the bargain.
I think Pierre is right to be upset.