Thursday, March 5, 2009

With Manny back, Pierre wants out

In a story that was obvious to happen sooner rather than later, Juan Pierre has been granted permission to seek trade options. Manny Ramirez is back, so Pierre will be on the outside looking in at a starting spot.

To Pierre's credit, from everything I've read, he's handled it all with class. Read all of his quotes and you have to acknowledge that he's at least saying the right things. He wants to be a team player, yet wants to play. Understood. He also knows that with Manny there and the 2 youngsters in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, he's better suited elsewhere.

So here's the facts. He's now in the 3rd year of his 5-year, $44 million salary that was given to him before the 2007 season. At the time it seemed a little crazy considering the Dodgers needed power, but he was signed anyway. Currently he's owed $28.5 million.

Now there will be a couple of questions for teams to figure out: who wants him as a starter and who would be willing to pay some (if not all) of his salary? It's not like he has no value. Basically teams would be paying for a guy that will get hits, but won't get on base enough like a good leadoff hitter should. His speed on the bases is still excellent. He also has a terrible arm for the outfield.

You would have to think some team out there would want him. He mentioned that he'd be willing to defer payments in order to get something done, not unlike how the Dodgers dumped Andruw Jones. Plus, the Dodgers would most likely have to pay for some of his remaining contract.

If he ends up being kept, I can't see him being a distraction, because Joe Torre will still start him in spots just to keep him somewhat involved. He's a fantastic option late in games as a pinch-runner. Ya, that's an expensive contract for a pinch-runner, but it is what it is.

It's hard to say who the Dodgers would look for in return, but my guess is more pitching or a backup outfielder spot. Right now they have Jason Repko, who's about as fragile as egg shells.

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