The last time Juan Pierre played center field in Yankee Stadium, he helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series. Now, Pierre could be returning to The Bronx as the Yankees’ center-fielder. The cash-dumping Marlins have asked for lefty Sean Henn and right-handed reliever Scott Proctor for Pierre, and the Yankees didn’t reject the offer.
When the Marlins started dumping salary by trading Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox and Carlos Delgado to the Mets, the Yankees seemed cool on acquiring the 28-year-old Pierre. However, with only Bubba Crosby to replace Bernie Williams, the Yankees have been keeping tabs on who’s available.
They didn't accept the offer either. In fact until an offer is declined, it is "not rejected." So this is really a non-story.
Possibly what makes Pierre attractive is that it’s likely a one-year deal, since Pierre can become a free agent after the season and the 2007 class of free agent center-fielders will include Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter and Mike Cameron. And there is always the possibility that Pierre performs well enough to be brought back.
I'll go out on a limb here and say that Pierre isn't much of an upgrade over Crosby.
OK, this I agree with. What's most valuable about trading for Pierre is that you won't have him long. Pierre is arbitration eligible after making $3.7 million last year. According to several Sources, the Marlins also are shopping Pierre to Texas for pitching prospects and perhaps outfielder Laynce Nix, who annoyed Ranger brass by not playing winter ball after missing a good part of the season with an injury. Pierre would give the Yankees speed in center field and the pure leadoff hitter they haven’t had since Chuck Knoblauch left after the 2001 season.
That would allow Derek Jeter to bat second, a spot he did with Knoblauch around when the Yankees won three straight World Series and came close to copping a fourth straight in 2001.
Wait a minute. Oh, no. The Yankees already have a pure leadoff hitter. Why is it that ever jerk sportswriter in New York wants the Yankees to get a "pure leadoff hitter" and always seem to think guys who play centerfield and steal a lot of bases are the answer? I just went all over this with the Damon nonsense, so I'll be brief and say that Jeter's superior OBP (31 points higher, career) makes him far more valuable as a leadoff guy than Pierre.
I don't think the Yankees won three World Series simply because Jeter was batting second. In fact Jeter's numbers are better in the leadoff spot. However at least for once there's a new angle as to why the Yankees haven't won in 5 years besides "A-Rod is a choker" and "they are a group of superstars but not a TEAM." Jeter bats second = rings. Ok, got it. While Pierre is coming off a down season in which the career .305 hitter batted .276 with an on-base percentage of .326, he batted .326 with a .374 on-base percentage in 2004. He also swiped 57 bases in 74 attempts. And he hit lefties (.299) better than righties .270) last season.
Wow, OBP? Seriously? I'm pleasantly surprised. However it's glossed over and disregarded, especially since it's lower than the guy who is already hitting leadoff. What seems to be George's big selling point in this article however is that Pierre "swiped 57 bags in 74 attempts." Now 57 steals is a lot, especially in this day and age... but look at the percentages. That's a 77% success rate. Not bad, and over the generally accepted break even point of 70%. King mentioned 2004 though so let's look back there again. Pierre was 45 for 69. That's 65%. Pierre actually hurt his team and cost his offense runs. He would have been better off never attempting a steal all season. Especially with a power team like the Yankees, that's suicide. Jeter's SB% over the same two years? 73% and 85%. Jeter's career SB% is 79% which is 6 points higher than Pierre. But he's not a "pure leadoff hitter." When the other center fielders available are presented, Pierre stacks up. The Angels are shopping Darin Erstad and Steve Finley. The Dodgers are expected to trade Milton Bradley before Dec. 20. The Phillies asked for Chien-Ming Wang, possibly the Yankees’ No. 3 starter, for Jason Michaels, who never has been a regular player. Carl Pavano’s name surfaced yesterday in a possible deal for Michaels. Tampa Bay could move Joey Gathright but he is raw.
Unless Johnny Damon’s wishes for a seven-year contract decrease, the Yankees aren’t interested.
I'm sure the Phillies will take less than Wang for Michaels. If not look into Bradley. Erstad and Finley are past their primes (and Estrad's prime was not much to write home about anyway). Gathright is fast. That's about all I can say positive about him at this point.
The gamble in it for the Yankees is Henn. He is a 24-year-old lefty they thought enough of to promote from Double-A to the big leagues for an emergency start when Randy Johnson was scratched in May. In three games Henn was 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA. He was 5-5 with a respectable 3.23 ERA in 16 games for Columbus and 2-1 with an 0.71 ERA in four games for Double-A Trenton.
However, the emergence of Wang and the chance that RHP Phil Hughes, the No. 1 pick in 2004, could be ready for the big leagues in 2007, softens the blow of losing Henn.
The gamble is Pierre. Because he's not that good of a player.
Why trade a left handed prospect because you have 2 other young pitchers? You know you need 5 starters, and the Yankees aren't getting any younger in that rotation. I'm ok with trading Henn, but certainly not for Pierre.