Juan Pierre Rumors
The latest out of the National League East...
- Dusty Baker reached out to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo to inform him that he's interested in taking over as the Nats manager with Davey Johnson stepping down, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Baker said that no interview has been scheduled, and Rizzo declined to comment on the Nats' managerial search. Kilgore adds that the Nationals may prefer a younger manager to replace Johnson, who was the oldest skipper in the Majors this season at age 70.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio tweets that the Nationals are giving serious consideration to Cal Ripken Jr. as a managerial candidate.
- Matt Meyers of ESPNNewYork.com provides a case against the Mets' expected pursuit of Shin-Soo Choo, opining that Choo is a prime candidate to become the next Jason Bay in New York. Choo is much more likely to decline than maintain his production, writes Meyers, adding that Choo would be leaving an environment that favors his skill set for one that would diminish it.
- Juan Pierre wants to keep playing but realizes that 2013 might have been his last season, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Pierre is grateful to the Marlins for both of his stints with the team and says he would be interested in returning if they would like to re-sign him.
- Johan Santana isn't ruling out a return to the Mets, but the two sides haven't talked, agent Chris Leible told Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Santana resumed throwing last week and expects to be ready for Spring Training. GM Sandy Alderson said two weeks ago that he wouldn't rule out a return for Santana.
In reality, the Red Sox were a "non factor" for Cliff Lee before they landed Jake Peavy, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Will he get moved today to another club? Baseball people are highly doubtful anyone would meet the supposed Phillies' asking price of three top prospects for a pitcher who has $70MM left on his deal through 2015. "I don't know of a team in baseball that would [do] that. Taking on that much money and giving up three legit prospects seems like a stretch for anyone," one exec said. Here's more from around baseball as we approach the 3pm central deadline..
- The A's are still pursuing bullpen depth, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.
- Teams that have spoken with the Phillies say they're not upbeat about making any deals today, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Michael Young is still in play, but there's no clear destination for the third baseman.
- The Cardinals are leaning towards standing pat at the deadline unless there is a last minute drastic change, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the Rays have been looking into at least one more potential deal, presumably to add a bat. Tampa Bay made a splash earlier this week when they landed Jesse Crain in a swap with the White Sox.
- The Yankees were mainly working on smaller acquisitions like Alberto Callaspo this week and didn't have any interest in Alex Rios once they landed Alfonso Soriano, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Callaspo wound up going from the Halos to the A's.
- The Marlins don't expect to do much today and plan to keep Chad Qualls, Justin Ruggiano, and other trade chips if they can't get good value in return, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Meanwhile, the Marlins are gauging interest in Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- The Royals' search for a second baseman continues, but they don't appear to be close on anything at the moment, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. “Anything’s possible,” one club official said. “We looking at a lot of things, but I doubt anything get done unless things change in the last few hours.”
- The Indians got the left-handed reliever they needed yesterday in Marc Rzepczynski and would still be open to a rotation upgrade, but they don't like the price so far, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). For now, the Tribe is prepared to stand pat.
- There are a lot of present and veteran Braves who think the club is making a serious mistake by allowing Brian McCann hit the open market at the end of the season, writes Peter Gammons at GammonsDaily.com. "Only the people around the team understand what he means to that pitching staff. He’s a star player in the team concept,” said David Ross of McCann, who also leads the team with a .884 OPS.
- Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com spoke with Nationals players to get their take on the trade deadline. Scott Hairston and Adam LaRoche have both been involved in multiple deadline deals.
Saturday marked the first full slate of Spring Training games with teams in action all over the states of Arizona and Florida. Teams will play a 35-game schedule this spring, longer than typical years, as a result of the World Baseball Classic taking place at the same time. FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi caught up with the Marlins as they begin the 2013 season with lowered expectations after unloading a major portion of the team's payroll during the offseason.
- Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre says Michael Bourn did well for himself with the contract he signed with the Indians this offseason. Pierre points to power hitters aging more gracefully than players who rely on their speed to score runs. "Guys that run, you get to 31 and (teams) shy away from guys like that," Pierre said. "Bourn is 30. I was 28 when I signed my deal with the Dodgers, right in the prime. It’s a tough thing, because power never goes on you."
- Marlins backup catcher Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone after being hit with a ball while behind the plate on Saturday which further weakens Miami at the position. A reporter suggested manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher, should assume Mathis' responsibilities while the veteran recovers. "I don’t know about that," Redmond said. "I don’t think so. I like the way my body feels right now, the way it is."
Juan Pierre was one of the few people not outraged by the Miami Marlins' blockbuster 12-player trade that sent high-priced players Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to Toronto over the winter.
After all, it helped land him a contract to keep playing.
The 35-year-old Pierre signed a one-year, $1.6MM contract to return to the Marlins despite the belief that many free agents wouldn’t want to sign in Miami after they debuted a new stadium and high hopes for 2012 and then quickly dumped several high-priced players at the first sign of trouble.
“To me it was a no-brainer,” Pierre told a group of reporters at Marlins camp about signing with the Marlins. “I’ve been the underdog my whole career. This type of stuff isn’t bad. I know the media and the fans are upset with what’s gone on, but we had nothing to do with it.
“I’m probably here because they did do the trade. Honestly, a lot of other guys are here because of the trade. So, all you can do is make the best out of it.”
Pierre played three seasons with the Marlins from 2003-2005, playing a key role on their World Championship winning team in 2003. He stole 65 bases in 2003, which remains a club record, and in 2004 set the franchise record with 221 hits.
He returns to the Marlins for his 14th big league season after hitting .307/.351/.371 in 439 plate appearances for the 2012 Phillies. The left-handed hitter broke into the Major Leagues with the Rockies in 2000 and has also played for the Cubs, Dodgers and White Sox.
Pierre has seen plenty during his career but not even he could have predicted the path the Marlins took just months after a spending spree and the promise of huge things in Miami.
But he doesn’t see a big problem with it.
“People don’t understand the business side of baseball,” Pierre said. “I don’t even get all of it. That’s the part of the game I don’t even touch. I know it’s tough for the fans because you do grow attached to a player or grow excited, and then they trade them away for business purposes and bring in another guy. Fans don’t want to hear that.
“These guys that own teams are businessmen first. You don’t get to own teams being dumb businessmen. I know fans don’t want to hear that. Sometimes baseball players don’t want to hear it when you get attached to a city.”
The Marlins signed veteran infielder Placido Polanco to a one-year deal in late December and gave utility man Chone Figgins a chance to win a roster spot with a minor league deal and an invite to big league Spring Training shortly before camp opened.
Their roster is filled with an interesting mix of veterans looking to extend their careers and youngsters looking to break in and make a name for themselves. As Pierre sees it, it’s the perfect combination.
“If you’re a young guy or a guy on the fringe or whatever, this is where you want to be,” Pierre said. “I call it the land of opportunity right now. If you play well, the Marlins will have you in the big leagues, or they’ll get you to somewhere you can go play.
“Most of the guys in our 30s, we’re still hungry because we know pretty much we’re a year from not having a job. It’s a lot of our guys’ last go-round as far as being Major League guys, so we’re as hungry as ever.
“These young whippersnappers, they ought to be excited to be in a big league camp with a chance to make a Major League roster. So, I think you get all that hungriness together, it can pan out for a good season.”
But that problem with the fans remains. Most feel betrayed by the Marlins ownership group and attendance doesn’t figure to be very good. At least at first. “Our job as players is to go out and play hard,” Pierre said.
“The front office, for whatever reason, whatever they did, that’s something they’re going to have to mend. I know how it goes in Florida. You win and you win in consistent fashion and the fans are going to come out.
“All we can control is how we go about our business on the field every day and, hopefully if the fans get around guys, especially young guys who are going out and busting their butts every day, hopefully we get some wins and the fans will come around.”
The sexy pick by some to win the World Series a year ago, the Marlins went out and posted a 69-93 record in the regular season. With a depleted roster and first-year manager in Mike Redmond, nobody will be picking them to win much of anything in 2013.
There’s not much to look forward to this year in Miami. But happy and thankful to still be playing, Pierre has the perfect formula to turn things around.
“I live here, I know the buzz,” Pierre said. “With the new park, you get to winning, you get the momentum going, fans will come out. Winning heals all wounds.”
9:19pm: Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel says it's a one-year agreement worth $1.6MM (Twitter link).
Pierre, 35, hit .307/.351/.371 with 37 steals for the Phillies this season. He'll fill the leadoff void created by the blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays, which will send both Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio to the Blue Jays. Tim Dierkes did not rank Pierre on his Top 50 Free Agents List.
Though Charlie Manuel will return to manage the Phillies in 2013, Triple-A manager Ryne Sandberg appears to be a “nearly sure bet” to succeed Manuel at some point, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. Here are the details on the Phillies from Heyman...
- The Phillies are impressed by Sandberg’s work in the minor leagues, but the 68-year-old Manuel is under contract for 2013. Some insiders say some people in the Phillies organization have been advocating for Sandberg since before the 2011 season. Amaro dismissed that notion, but praised Sandberg. "He's been great. He's done a nice job for us," Amaro said. However, there’s probably “nothing to be done” if another organization looks to hire Sandberg this coming offseason.
- Amaro told Heyman the Phillies aren’t trading Juan Pierre. The Orioles are interested in Pierre, but Philadelphia is just 5.0 games out of the Wild Card race so they are not inclined to make a trade.
The Orioles have some interest in trading for Juan Pierre, but the Phillies aren’t eager to trade him, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Pierre could replace Nick Markakis, who's out with a broken thumb, and lead off for Baltimore. The Phillies wouldn’t get much in return for Pierre with less than a month remaining in the season, so they’re content to keep him.
Pierre, 35, signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $800K in January. He's been a bargain, posting a .304/.346/.364 batting line in 385 plate appearances, stealing 34 bases in 40 attempts, and amassing nearly as many walks (20) as strikeouts (21). Pierre wouldn’t be eligible for the playoffs if Baltimore traded for him.
Pierre, 35, has hit .300/.343/.363 with 32 steals in 37 attempts for the Philadelphia this year. He's owed approximately $160K the rest of the season, so his salary shouldn't be much of a factor in any trade. The Orioles, Reds, and other teams expressed interest in Pierre before the trade deadline.
The Giants are seeking outfield help following Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). For now the team plans to promote Justin Christian from Triple-A and stick with Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan, and Hunter Pence as the regulars.
Rosenthal reports that Scott Hairston and Juan Pierre have yet to be placed on trade waivers, though the Diamondbacks would likely block both players from getting to San Francisco. Arizona has a higher waiver priority and both Hairston (approximately $300K) and Pierre ($200K) are reasonably priced for the remainder of the season. Alfonso Soriano remains unlikely to approve a trade to the 2010 World Champs.
- A Dodgers-Victorino trade is looking very likely, tweets Heyman. ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Dodgers are close to acquiring Victorino for Lindblom and a second player. Another sign a deal is imminent: outfielder Domonic Brown was scratched from today's Triple-A game and will be joining the Phillies in Washington, D.C., tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Dodgers are in serious talks for Victorino, reports Heyman. The Phillies have been asking for relievers.
- The Reds and Phillies have ceased talks on Victorino and Juan Pierre, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, putting the Dodgers in a good position for Victorino.
- Potential Phillies target Josh Lindblom became more expendable for the Dodgers after the team acquired Brandon League from the Mariners, wrote Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports early this morning. Lindblom, 25, has a 3.02 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.70 HR/9, and 38% groundball rate in 47 2/3 relief innings this year, so he's had some issues with the longball.