One Of Us… One Of Us…

Tony Jackson, March 5, 2008:

And you and I are never going to change each other’s minds about Juan Pierre. You know where I stand, and I know where you stand. But there is one fact that can’t be disputed, and that is this: JUAN PIERRE IS GOING TO BE THE DODGERS’ EVERYDAY LF IN 2008. You aren’t going to change Joe Torre’s mind, either. The only thing that will change his mind is if he watches Pierre play and draws the same conclusion so many of you have, and I don’t think that is going to happen because, well, as you know, I think Pierre is going to be a key piece of this lineup, and I think Joe Torre is going to love what he brings to this lineup. There are things about his game I don’t like. I wish he would get better at bunting his way on, or else stop trying it so often. I also wish he would draw more walks, but I don’t believe that is so much a shortcoming on his part as it is the way he is pitched to. But I still believe the Dodgers are better with him in the lineup.

Tony Jackson, March 15, 2008:

I’ll save admitting I was wrong for sometime during the regular season. This is, after all, SPRING TRAINING. But yes, for now, Andre Ethier, having just gone 3 for 4 with an opposite-field HR and four RBI, is hitting .300 to Juan Pierre’s .186 (he went 0 for 4, one ball hit out of the infield). Kemp is hitting .308 after going 1 for 5 as the DH in the People’s Republic.

and March 15 in the Daily News:

There also is another theory, one that has been advanced all winter by blog posters and fantasy-league players, one that might be starting to gain traction with the people who will actually make the decision.

This one has Ethier in left field and Kemp in right. On an everyday basis.

All the time.

Hey, blog posters! I love those guys. Anyway, that was quick. Took all of ten days of watching what happens on the field rather than looking at the paychecks to perhaps bring another believer into the fold.

For the record, I don’t enjoy being so anti-Pierre. He’s a Dodger, and I would love to see him succeed and help the team - not to mention we all know he’s a good teammate, hard worker, etc. etc. But it’s becoming pretty hard to turn a blind eye to the obvious – he’s the 4th best outfielder on this team. Just look at the spring numbers thus far from him, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp:

(avg/obp/slg  hr/rbi)
Pierre: .186/.271/.209  0/0
Kemp: .310/.318/.595  2/12
Ethier: .300/.429/.600  4/10

These three have the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most at-bats of the spring, respectively, for the Blue, so they’ve all gotten pretty much the exact same chance to shine. You can say spring numbers don’t matter, but there’s a pretty glaring difference there that two of these guys have come to play and one has been pretty underwhelming, especially when you consider that there’s a new manager in town who’s getting his first shot to see these guys play. Besides, I could put out regular season numbers for the last two seasons as well, and it’s not like it’d be much of a difference. And, we haven’t even considered which one of the three has by far the worst throwing arm!

At this point, there’s really no defensible reason why Pierre should be taking at-bats away from Kemp and Ethier. Well, except this point by Jackson, which would make the irony scale meltdown, if true:

Of the three, Pierre would appear to be the least likely to contribute as a reserve. He has no power, and his speed adds a dimension at the top of the order – albeit one that is only effective if he can get on base a lot.

Meanwhile, both Ethier and Kemp would be legitimate power threats off the bench if Torre needed a pinch hitter in a key situation.

Imagine that – a lesser player winning a starting job because not only is he the least valuable of the three in the starting lineup, he’s the least valuable off the bench, too. Amazing.

On another note, Tampa fansite Rays Index, responding to my recent post looking for available third basemen, asks:

Would the Dodgers want Joel Guzman back? They are suddenly short on third baseman and if Guzman does not make the 25-man roster, he must be traded or released as he is out of options. [Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness]

To which I say: no, thanks. He’s still only 23, so I’d certainly take him back and let him go back to Vegas and see if he can’t sort himself out, but without options that’s not going to happen, and he’s not what we’re looking for at the big league level right now. He’s proven nothing in his short time in the bigs with LA and TB, and he somehow put up a .281 OBP at Triple-A Durham last season. I think the Rays are on the verge of big things, but the fact remains that they still could use all the young talent they can get their hands on, and when Rays bloggers are trying to come up with ways to get rid of him, that’s not really a good sign.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg