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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.