Traded: Juan Pierre to the White Sox

Lost in the awesomeness of the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee blockbuster, the Dodgers have traded outfielder Juan Pierre to the Chicago White Sox for minor leaguers Jon Link and John Ely. The White Sox have been looking for a leadoff hitter for what seems like an eternity, so this trade must have gotten the White Sox brass all kinds of excited.

Pierre has been stuck behind Manny Ramirez in Los Angeles for the past year and a half, but managed to find plenty of playing time in 2009 when Manny was suspended for trying to get pregnant. When Pierre started games last year, he hit .304/.355/.386 with 28 steals and 43 runs scored in 350 plate appearances. Overall last year, Pierre hit .308/.365/.392 in 425 plate appearances, striking out only 27 times.

Pierre had an outstanding month of May, hitting .369/.435/.505 with 9 steals. Somehow, he managed to drive in 18 runs for the Dodgers, a number he could not match in all the other months combined. His numbers dropped off in June, when he hit .264/.319/.309, but he did accumulate 11 steals during the month.

Since coming into the majors in 2000, Pierre has been one of fantasy baseball’s premier base stealers. His lowest steal total in a season with 600+ plate appearances was 46, back in his first full year in 2001. Since then, he has stolen 55+ bases four times, coming in at over 60 twice.

Pierre sports an outstanding line drive clip, with a career rate of 22%. In his past two seasons with the Dodgers, this rate jumped up to 24%.

Now that he will be a full time player again in a decent White Sox lineup, Pierre’s value skyrockets. I’ve never been one to pay for his services, but if you are looking for steals he is once again “the man”. A .290 average with 45+ steals is completely reasonable to expect in 2010.




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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.


19 Responses to “Traded: Juan Pierre to the White Sox”

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  1. Resolution says:

    “but managed to find plenty of playing time in 2009 when Manny was suspended for trying to get pregnant.”

    First time I think I outright laughed out loud here.

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  2. jkupka82 says:

    very happy with this transaction. 3mm and 5mm seems like a steal. I picked up pierre the second manny got suspended and reaped huge benefits in fantasy last season. He has the worst arm in baseball but i’m confident he can still post plus range and uzr patrolling a tiny cell. all while stealing bags at an 80 percent clip. Signing Jones and Pierre at huge discount because LA hands out terrible contracts. I’m getting giddy thinking about how the Sox have improved adding role players. Their outfield shouldn’t look bad defensively with rios, pierre, and jones/Teahan. Helluva lot better than quentin pods dye. If putz can get back any of what he showed in 07 the bullpen will be solid coupled with arguable the best rotation in baseball. I am serious when I say Peavy Buerhle Floyd Danks Garcia is deeper than Lincicum Caine Sanchez Zito ? and Lester Lackey becket dicek bucholz (assuming bucholz is still around). I will bet Kenny WIlliams is not done dealing and I expect the whitesox to surprise alot of people next year.

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    • bigfun says:

      Don’t think that Teahen will be seeing a lot of time in the outfield. Move is OK but it’s a shame to see Ely go, yet more depth draining out of Chicago’s perpetually dry farm system. With Rios, Teahen, Pierre, etc. all starting or near-starting the White Sox lineup is pretty short on power, especially if Quentin is plagued with health problems again, and doesn’t promise a great improvement over the pretty lackluster OBP numbers of 2009.

      Pretty good for Juan owners fantasy-wise, although he may not score as many runs as you would like if the lineup doesn’t click.

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  3. djhutchins says:

    Another important consideration- three days ago the white sox had penciled in Gordon Beckham as the opening day lead-off guy. Bringing in Pierre allows the whole line-up to shift, which is huge.

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  4. adohaj says:

    As a twins Fan I am worried about the Sox next year.

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  5. from http://gameofinches.blogspot.com/2009/12/white-sox-trade-acquire-juan-pierrewhy.html

    Scotty Pods is a career .720 OPS hitter. Juan Pierre’s career OPS? .720.

    Scotty Pods is 33 years old. Juan Pierre? 32 years old.

    Scotty Pods had the 39th weakest arm (-2.1 runs) in the OF amongst all OFs given 400+ PAs. Juan Pierre’s ranking? 41st to last (-1.9 runs).

    Scotty Pods’ career speed score? 7.1. Juan Pierre? 7.3.

    On that same topic, Scotty Pods has a career stolen base success rate of 76.7% (286/373). Juan Pierre? 74.8% (459/614).

    Sure, Juan Pierre has been worth +33.5 Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAR), one half of which came in 2002, against Scotty Pods’ career -8.0 FRAR, but Scotty Pods has hit 3x as many HR in 1/2 as many career PAs (in fact, Juan Pierre has exactly one home runs in his last 1,606 PAs). Hell, both Juan Pierre (.910) and Scotty Pods (.905) had almost identical OPS’s in their respective teams World Series bids.

    What’s the point? Juan Pierre is not much of an upgrade over Scotty Pods. The Sox are saying no to Scotty Pods’ 2 year, $10-14 million demands in favor of a player with slightly better defense and equally crappy offense for $10 million for two season plus a pair of prospects. It just seems like the Sox, if that hell bent on acquiring a shitty OF to play lead off, could have just resigned Pods at approximately the same monetary cost without the waste of prospects. It’s not exactly like the White Sox are overwhelmed with quality prospects (I see a lonely Tyler Flowers and overrated Jonathan Danks, but who else remains?). I wonder if Kenny Williams noticed that Mike Cameron was available until a couple of days ago. Maybe he just wanted another overpaid outfielder to keep Alex Rios company/distract the fans from the terrible Alex Rios acquirance.

    Oh, well. That’s Kenny Willaims for you.

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  6. dave says:

    8 mil, not 10.

    Using your numbers, the money the Sox save on Pierre over Pods turned into Putz.

    Putz + Pierre > Pods.

    Point taken?

    Precisely.

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    • Putz=injury prone and lost control of pitches and getting old
      Pierre/Pods=same, crappy player.

      Neither is worth even $5 mil and you could sign Pods for $10 mil/2 yrs because no one else will give him close to that. Thus, waste of trade. Esp. since it cost prospects too

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      • bigfun says:

        David I agree with some of your points, but you didn’t mention a big difference between these players.

        Pierre 162 game average PA, last five years = 606
        Podsednik 162 game average PA, last five years = 433

        And that’s without even accounting for Pierre’s situational (rather than health or drop-in-performance-related) loss of PAs over the past two years. Pierre may be a mediocre player, but he’s a healthy mediocre player who plays at a consistent level. In every year since 2005 Podsednik has spent significant time on the DL, in the minors, scrapping for ABs on the Rockies’ bench, or in the minors.

        I don’t like this move much either and I agree with you about a lot, but Pierre is way more durable than Podsednik.

        And I assume you mean Jordan Danks? Mitchell and Hudson are the other good prospects. There are some unproven guys with good potential in A-ball and a few AA/AAA guys who are worthwhile bullpen arms, but yeah, it’s not a good system right now.

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      • good cattch of my danks mistake. fixing.

        Second, pierre does not get more PA/season just bc of health. Pods has been a 5th OF since 2006

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      • bigfun says:

        I mentioned that too. They’re both factors in Pierre’s favor. Pierre is a much better bet on health and also has a track record that provides a much more reliable projection for next year.

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      • bigfun says:

        I mean… if they really wanted a scrappy crappy garbageman I would have preferred Crisp or Baldelli or Byrd or Brown for $1-2 million over either Pierre or Podsednik. Just noting that there’s a significant argument for Pierre over Pods.

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      • JoeyO says:

        “Neither is worth even $5 mil and you could sign Pods for $10 mil/2 yrs because no one else will give him close to that. Thus, waste of trade. Esp. since it cost prospects too”

        You can sign Pods to less then 2/10. Right now, Byrd, Crisp and Ankiel are on the market as far as starters and Reed Johnson, Rocco Baldelli and Jerry Hairston Jr. represent solid bench options with super-utility man Alfredo Amezaga also available. There just are not that many starters jobs available, and even the bench roles are limited as teams are doing what they can to spend less money on non-difference making parts.

        Meanwhile, Pods is off 3 straight minor league deals (1 with Rox, 2 with Sox) and 3 years of being a 4th – 5th OF. He had injuries which cost him about 1/2 a month each over two of the last 3 seasons, but otherwise he hasnt got PA because no one wanted him getting them. Hitters dont go from 3 years of unwanted to desired and given a large (relative to market) 2 year contract. Pods, realistically, will probably be lucky getting a 1/3-4 MM deal in the end. Who will offer more when only the Cubs (as a last ditch option for CF), Royals, Giants and Tigers have even shown any real interest?

        Also, it isnt just Pierre vs Pods here. The 8 Million Pierre will be getting from the Sox could have been spent on any LF/RF/DH option – which is a huge list itself.

        And the WhiteSox dont need another 2/7-9 hitter anyway – they have a roster pretty full of those types. Pierre isnt a real 1 hitter himself as he just doesnt get on base and is a poor base runner when he does. Rios should be the Leadoff Hitter, as he is a pretty safe bet to provide the 330 OBP of Pierre with much more power (Pierre has the worst ISO in the game of regulars) and 20 SB without the horrible CS rates. What the Sox need is a OBP/power threat to slot into the 3 spot behind Rios/Beckham and in front of Quinten/Konerko.

        Its just a bad trade for the Sox. The money is comparable to what they could have signed someone else (who fit their real needs more) for and the prospects given up have good upside. Unfortunately, the Sox seem obsessed with 330 range OBP, no/limited-power guys though, and in the end it will only cost them.

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      • bigfun says:

        ^Yeah. The real issue is that heavy bats were the biggest priorities in the offseason and they’ve spent all this money on Vizquel, Kotsay, Teahen, Pierre, and Putz, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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