Juan PierreJuan 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.

7 Responses to “Juan Pierre is getting screwed”

  1. As you say, Pierre has been exactly what the Dodgers were looking for, someone with speed and can hit for good average. Seems best to try to find a trade out there for Pierre at this point. His salary will be tough for many teams to take on, but should be able to get good quality for him…maybe an up and coming third baseman would be in order

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Coley, I agree that Pierre has a right to be pissed. This situation somewhat reminds me of the fix Julio Lugo may well be in by the end of this season. The Red Sox have a perfectly good shortstop prospect and I’m sure they’d prefer to give him the job. But the ridiculous contract they gave Lugo makes him very difficult, if not impossible, to move. But what are players like Lugo and Pierre to do? Turn down the money? “Sorry Mr. GM, you are way overvaluing me with that offer, and if I accept it, I’ll be impossible to trade once you realize your mistake and want to replace me with someone better.” Somehow, I can’t quite picture it.

  3. What do you mean by, “..he doesn’t want to break the contract he tried so hard to land”? How can Pierre “break his contract”? He will show up and collect his money regardless of whether or not he plays, he’s not going to retire or allow the Dodgers to void the contract. I don’t understand how a player has a right to complain because a better player is on the field. What the Dodgers are doing here is uncharacteristic, they are playing the better player regardless of the players’ contracts. Shouldn’t fans be glad the Dodgers aren’t compounding their mistake by burying the young player? Pierre is getting paid huge money, I understand he wants to play, but he should keep quiet about it, show up ready to do his job and wait for a trade or injury. That would be the professional thing to do. You are exactly right that Pierre has been consistent and they shouldn’t have expected him to be anything more than that but the contract did not stipulate that they “owed” him playing time as well. There is nothing preventing the Dodgers from eating part of this contract and trading him to a team that could use him as a starter. If the Dodgers want to keep him as a fourth outfielder at what they are paying him, then he should deal with it. The White Sox are a team that might be able to use a guy like Pierre and they have an extra third baseman. He could get dealt, in the meantime it would be nice if he acted like a professional about it. Pierre has always come across as a decent guy and a “team” guy but I think he is wrong in this case. I bet there are a lot of aging mediocre players that wouldn’t mind getting “screwed” the way Pierre has here.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    I don’t know, I think Pierre is getting a bit screwed, though you make a good point about “breaking the contract.” When in baseball do contracts ever get voided? But also, how often do players play 162 games, hit in the .290s, and steal upwards of 60 bases? Pierre really ought to be playing every day. By contrast, Coco Crisp has complained more vocally than Pierre, and Coco has even less ‘right’ to do so. Yet a lot of people are sympathetic to Coco’s situation, while Pierre seems to be getting the cold shoulder.

  5. Melissa, I think the only way Pierre gets to play everyday is to go someplace else. And the only way that’s going to happen is 1. The Dodgers eat a BIG part of his salary and trade him or 2. Pierre says to L.A., I want out of this deal.

    I’m sure the Dodgers would be more than happy to let Pierre out of his contract. Will Pierre ask out? Probably not. But that’s the only way Pierre can guarantee himself significant playing time this year.

  6. Oh, I should mention that I have no idea if the Player’s Union would allow Pierre to opt out of his deal.

Leave a Reply

    Recent Comments

    • planet hobbywood: This is very interesting.
    • Bren: He is a awesome player and a good man.. sweet.. polite.. friendly.. down to earth.. he never acted as though he...
    • HADAJUN( Japanese): Okajima a Japanese hero?
    • Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor league baseball in the Orioles...
    • HADAJUN: I wish for play in Japan. The death is regrettable.


    Subscribe via email

    Enter your email address:


Featured posts

December 5, 2011

Will anybody get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

Last week, we asked you to vote for who you would like to see enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The verdict? If it were up to UmpBump readers, nobody would make it in. The leading vote getter (so far) is Jeff Bagwell, who has 60% support. Of course, in the real voting, players need […]

January 5, 2011

Annual UmpBump Hall of Fame Balloting: 2011 Edition

In what has become an annual tradition, we here at UmpBump cast our ballots for the Hall of Fame on the eve of the announcements of the voting for the real Hall of Fame. Voters can vote for anyone ever who has been retired from baseball for at least five years and is not already […]

October 19, 2010

Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Managers of All Time

Now that we’ve looked at every position on the diamond, as well as relief pitchers, we are nearing the end of our “Crowdsourcing the Greats” series. But before we finish, let’s turn one more time to the internet hoi polloi for answers on who the greatest baseball manager of all time was. As usual, we […]