Joe Torre has just announced before the last exhibition game of the season that Andre Ethier will begin the season as the starting left fielder. This FINALLY ends months of speculation about whether or not Juan Pierre would remain a starting outfielder.
From the looks of things, it's a smart decision. Simply put - Ethier is a better player right now. Pierre still has plenty of value as a basestealing threat, but Ethier is a better hitter with more power and a much better defensive presence because of his stronger arm. Pierre has a bloated contract, and it's good to see that was not the deciding factor.
Ethier's Spring Training could not have gone any better: .365 AVG, .473 OBP, 6 HR, 16 RBI. On the flip side, Pierre's could not have gone any worse: .169 AVG, .225 OBP, 0 HR, 4 RBI. For a guy that has been complaining about being thrown out of position and of a job, he sure didn't do anything that made his case look better.
And while we're on that subject, it would be nice for once if Pierre were to actually acknowledge that he's stunk this Spring. Instead, all you hear about is the "Whoa is me" routine. Face it, Juan, you were beat out by better players and are no longer the threat you once were. Your free swinging, no walking ways have finally caught up to you.
Like I've said for months, Pierre will still get some starts, mostly because of injuries and random days off. So it's not like he'll be buried on the bench never to be seen or heard from again. I have to think that if some team out there needs outfield help and is willing to eat that big contract, now is the time to make that deal.
Congratulations to Ethier. He's earned it. Now let's play ball.