So, Juan Pierre for the next five years. There has to be some reasoning behind this right? Well, let's look at what Juan can do.
He can run really fast.
If he hits .325/.370/.380 he's a slightly above average centerfielder. Even better, the odds are decent that some time over the next five years, he'll do just that.
He's a hard worker. He goes out before the game and rolls balls down the line to see how bunts react to it. Not much, but it's something.
He easily leads the Dodgers in rhyme busting accuracy. He has been classified as "ill" by an anonymous NL scout.
With that said, Ned Colletti has done the one thing that many have feared since the day Paul DePodesta was fired. Juan Pierre is the anti-sabermetric poster boy. Sure he has a high average and steals a lot, but the batting average is completely empty, Pierre has a career isolated patience of .047 and an isolated power of .074. Keep in mind he spent part of his career in Coors Field. And those steals? Pretty much worthless since he gets caught 26.3% of the time.
This means Juan Pierre's value is entirely dependant on his batting average. If he hits .325, he's an acceptable, possibly even above average centerfielder. If he doesn't, look out. And, since batting average happens to have large fluctuations from year, look for Pierre to have a couple really bad years, as opposed to the standard bad year he would put up, through no fault of his own.
Of course, since Pierre doesn't walk, and his speed means he must be a lead off hitter, Pierre is the very definition of an out machine (he's ranked 1st, 2nd, 2nd, and 1st in outs over the last four years) Almost every G.M. has accepted the fact that outs are valuable, and shouldn't be thrown away. Ned failed to get that memo, apparently. J.D. Drew left the Dodgers with a large on base percentage hole and 11 million dollars to fill the gap that he left. Ned Colletti has decided to take that money, and fill the hole with the biggest out maker in baseball.
And this is just looking at Juan Pierre at face value. When you factor in Dodger stadium and aging, it gets even worse.
Case in point, Pierre's meager slugging percentage is boosted by the fact he's regularly among the league leaders in triples. What stadium suppressed triples the most from 2003-2005 (I don't have detailed 2006 park factors)? That's right, Dodger Stadium. So Pierre could see his .074 isolated power decrease even further.
Since Pierre's game is entirely based on speed, what happens as he gets older? What happens when he loses a step? What happens when that already poor stolen base percentage drops even lower? What happens when Pierre can't leg out quite as many infield singles? I shudder at the thought. Right now, we're looking at the peak of Juan Pierre's performance; it only goes downhill from here.
How does Pierre fit into the Dodger offense? Since they lack power, they need guys to get on base constantly to score runs. If any of our players start to slack, the entire team can get brought down. Why then, would you sign the biggest out maker in baseball to lead the offense?
This is the most expensive, and longest commitment that Ned Colletti has ever made, and he's chosen to commit to one of the most overrated players in baseball. I thought the Furcal signing showed that Ned knew the risks of a long term contract, but that was apparently just a fluke. I didn't think Colletti would be able to top the Hendrickson and Baez trades anytime soon, but less than six months later, he's made a decision that's far more fool hardy.
Here's what this move comes down to: if Juan Pierre doesn't have any aspect of his game decline over the next five years, and he gets some decent luck on balls in play, this signing might not be a disaster. Anyone want to take bets on that happening?
Just for fun let's look at quotes from my fellow SBN writers.
McCovey Chronicles - Whew.
Brew Crew Ball - The Dodgers appear to have done the Brewers a huge favor, signing Juan Pierre to a five-year, $45M deal.
Lonestar Ball - I would say "unbelievable," but at this point, none of these deals are unbelievable anymore.
Bucs Dugout - Crazy, dumb, and dumb.
Update: There may be hope after all.
Update 2: Nope, guess not. Here's my favorite part of this article. "'This man gets on base an awful lot,'" Colletti said of Pierre'. Pierre had on base percentages of .326 and .330 the last two years. This is the man in charge of building the Dodgers.