All over the Dodgers Board I am hearing how they can't wait until Manny comes back and how they hope they can get a solid arm for Juan Pierre.
Well I'm here to open a few eyes to just how well Juan Pierre is doing.
In 84 at bats this year Juan Pierre is batting .405 with 0 homers, 12 RBI's, 19 Runs, and 7 stolen bases. Manny Ramirez in 92 at bats this year is batting .348 with 6 homers, 20 RBI, 22 Runs, and 0 stolen bases. So Manny is a little bit more productive in this category but considering Juan Pierre came into the season with splinters on his back-side from sitting on the bench so long, not to mention the huge chip on his shoulder when he had to come in to "fill manny's shoes", plus he's generally a lead-off hitter or hitting 9th like he did a few times to start for Joe Torre, it makes his play as impressive as it is surprising. It's amazing how Juan Pierre is able to bat just as well as Manny for about half the cost! Baseball is a game of streaks but Juan has been every bit as good as Manny so far with near the same amount of playing time.
Economically it's a smart move to keep Juan and possibly try to deal Manny. Who knows if anyone would even consider it with his use of banned substances, most teams don't want that kind of image in their clubhouse, or that kind of attention but someone has got to be desperate for a hitter. Again, baseball is a game of streaks and perhaps Juan will only be hot for this time and revert to his previous O.K. baseball, but he has really impressed me and I really find it hard to part ways with him. He is a great teammate and never once whined about not getting playing time when he thought he was going to be a starter when he originally signed.
In terms of baserunning and fielding it's a smart move. Juan Pierre has scored a lot of 1st inning, and late game runs with his contact hitting and baserunning, just the other day I saw him draw a walk to lead-off the game, follow that up with a Furcal single and he easily goes 1st to 3rd and eventually scores. That's the kind of lead-off production we've been needing since Furcal has been struggling to start off the season. It's always easy for the O-Dawg to get a hit when he can relax with 0 outs and men on 1st and 3rd. When fielding you never have to worry about Juan dropping routine balls like Manny would ever so often, he might even dish out an amazing play or two on top of it.
I want to praise Orlando Hudson and get off topic for a bit because he still hasn't let up, to start the season I thought he was just benefiting from Manny but since Manny was suspended he is still hitting as great as he was. With how bad Ethier has been playing as of late it's clear that pitchers don't need to throw anything to him, so it seems to me Orlando is a real threat with the bat in his hands, and is still 2nd in the N.L. in hits, keep up the good work O-Dawg.
In terms of image it would be a smart move to keep Pierre. With the steroid label forever imprinted on Manny Ramirez's forehead it's hard not to think of the steroids everytime he gets a hit in the future, maybe some people don't believe his legacy is tainted but to me, the player himself is tainted. Juan Pierre is probably the opposite of a person who uses steroids, he works hard and doesn't focus on hitting the ball hard but hitting the ball to get a hit and help the team win, not just get a paycheck.
If not for any of the reasons above then it would be a good move to try to ship Manny instead of Juan because of Manny's history. He's known to take teams to win it all and he's known as one of the best hitters of all time (or was) so wouldn't it be better to move a big name like Manny to get a big name pitcher instead of trading Juan Pierre for a decent pitcher? Even if Juan Pierre doesn't stay this hot, would we need Manny's bat if we had a more well-rounded pitching staff? Lets not forget the '03 season when Juan helped his team to win the world series with a .305 batting average, 204 hits, 64 stolen bases, and 41 RBI's for anyone who is saying "well we could use Manny for that same history".
I am not saying Juan Pierre will end up being better than Man-Ram by season's end, there's too much baseball left to be played for me to make that particular prediction but keep your mind open to possibility instead of saying you should trade Juan as soon as Manny comes back from suspension. Our team batting average has skyrocketed without Manny, for the first time since we went 13-0 at home to start I'm seeing our team come together as a real team. Maybe Manny's suspension was a blessing in disguise because in my eyes the team seems 2x more confident.
Juan Pierre has earned the right to be a starter, whether it be with the Dodgers or not, but if I had to choose between Juan Pierre and Manny Ramirez at this time , I'd pick Juan Pierre in a heartbeat.
Just a thought.