With Manny completing the outfield trifecta along with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier (and, how awesome is that outfield looking? More on that to come) it’s no surprise that Juan Pierre’s looking for a way out. Which is ironic, since we’ve been looking for a way to get him out since, oh, five seconds after he signed his contract. Towards that end, the Dodgers have given his agent permission to explore potential trade partners.
Pierre mentioned that he’d be willing to defer some of the $28.5 million left on his contract, but it’s just not going to matter. This is somewhat of a bad situation that’s only going to get worse. Kensai over at FireNedCollettiNow detailed all of the reasons why Pierre’s a bad fit – not that anyone shouldn’t already know that an overpaid player who’s not very good at baseball is a bad fit – and it’s basically the same things I’ve been saying around here as far back as 2007 (which, by the way, remains one of the most enjoyable posts I’ve ever written for this site).
The problem here isn’t explaining why Pierre isn’t helpful, because it’s clear. We all know he has zero power and no on-base skills, but even more damning is the fact that with an awful outfield arm and an unhappy attitude about not starting, he hardly makes for a great backup. I’m being completely honest when I say this: would you rather have Pierre as a backup outfielder, or Jason Repko or Xavier Paul? The latter two probably won’t hit .300 like Pierre does, but they can both run, play all three positions, and have far superior arms – which is all you really need out of a backup. Hell, wouldn’t you even take Mitch Jones? He may not be much of a defender either, but he’s done nothing but crush the ball in the minors and has been the most impressive offensive performer so far this spring, even warranting a story on him on dodgers.com. Pierre’s just a terrible fit for this team.
Unfortunately, lost in the euphoria over Manny’s arrival and the announcement that Pierre was free to seek a trade is the simple fact that it’s just not going to happen. Oh, sure, Pierre said he’d defer part of his salary. That’s great. But he’s so wildly overpaid that, well, just take a look at what one of the most respected names in the online stats world, Tom Tango, had to say about that:
If Juan Pierre was a free agent, with absolutely no strings attached, what could he be worth? He’s at best an average-fielding CF, with an arm horribler than his baserunning is good. And a bat that is very bad. That works out to a 0.5 WAR player. He’s basically in a similar class to Garrett Anderson, and plenty of other backup outfielders on their last legs. Basically, he’d get 2MM, and at that, a one year contract. Let’s be nice, and say some team would give him 2.85MM. However, the Dodgers are on the hook for 28.5MM (spread over three years).
If we presume a 5% rate of return, Pierre’s new team could invest $2.45MM in a 50yr bond that will mature at a value of $28.1MM. And if they give him a league minimum salary this year, Pierre will get his $28.5MM.
So, if Pierre is serious about wanting to play this year, and away from the impossible competition he faces with the Dodgers, then he must defer his salary for 50 years, and sign at the league minimum. The signing team pays him what he is worth (0.4 + 2.45 = 2.85).
Fifty years. That would be pretty hilarious to think about if it wasn’t so depressing. If the Dodgers were really going to move him, they’d have to eat what, $20 million at least? I think it’s incredibly unlikely that they do that, and even if they would it’s unlikely to find a team in these times who’d be willing to pay him the remaining $8.5m left over three years.
No, the only way that Pierre is getting moved is if it could be for a contract that’s roughly as bad. But even that’s problematic. Let’s just toss out a name: Dontrelle Willis. He’s been absolutely horrible the last two seasons, and last year gave up 25 runs (and 35 walks) in just 24 innings. He has $22 million left on his contract, so the math is close enough. But would the Tigers do that deal? Probably not, because they already have plenty of outfielders, including the far superior Curtis Granderson in center, so it makes no sense to just send Pierre to another place he wouldn’t play. And while I probably would do that deal, I feel as though the Dodgers don’t consider him as utterly worthless as we do, and probably wouldn’t trade him for a pitcher who’s career seems like it could be over.
No, in order for Pierre to get moved, it’d have to be for another overrated player with between $20-$30 million left on their deal, who would have at least some use to the Dodgers, and coming from a team that would have playing time in the outfield for Pierre. Plus, with the Dodger lineup full, it would almost certainly have to be a pitcher. That’s a pretty tough set of criteria to fill, and I’m having a hard time finding a situation that fits. The Mariners would surely love to get rid of Carlos Silva, but he’s horrible too and is actually still owed more than Pierre is, so that’s unlikely – plus Seattle is set in center between Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro.
Which means… Juan Pierre’s staying in Los Angeles. At least for now.