At about 10:30 last evening, this tweet hit my Twitter timeline…
As the Phillies prepare for possible sell-off, Juan Pierre drawing interest, including from the Cincinnati Reds.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 7, 2012
Where to begin…
Interesting, yet confusing at the same time. Why is that?
Well, for one, a crazy comment Olney received was that the Reds have Hamilton in the farm system so why would the Reds even be interested. That’s a screwy comment because Pierre is only signed for this year (one) and Hamilton’s chances of being to the 40-man are, well, almost nil (two).
But let’s look at this tweet again.
Notice the word “including”, meaning more than one. It does not mean the Reds are the only team interested in Pierre, yet no other teams are listed. Why is that, Buster? Stirring the pot? Looking for that teaser line? No one from ESPN would dare do such. (Notice the sarcasm…)
Are the Reds baseball’s only contending team that has issues atop the batting order? I’m guessing that’s not the case. And my guess is confirmed. In the NL, both the Pirates (.230) and the Dodgers (.226) lead-off spot is “producing” a batting average at .230 or under. Both teams are also not getting much offense from the 2-hole (PIT – .255, LA – .258). Both are in better shape than Cincinnati from the top spot (.201), but behind at #2 (.264).
In the AL, the Orioles, Yankees, Rays and White Sox all have issues either atop their lineups and/or at the #2 slot.
So, linking Pierre to the Reds is actually a no-brainer especially when you look at the numbers. Pierre has done both this season (.275 from leadoff, .333 at #2), and performed better than what the Reds (and the other teams I listed) are currently getting from these lineup spots.
And think about this. Pierre is signed only for this season. His deal is only $800,000. He should be beyond cheap as in low-level prospect.
Still, this doesn’t quite seem palatable. The Reds do need a leadoff guy in the worst way, but they also have two guys playing in left field (Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey), and when (if) Scott Rolen returns, you’re looking at maybe even a third in the LF mix in Todd Frazier. Well, you can eliminate Frazier from that mix if you start him at third base.
Surely Walt wouldn’t send Ludwick, Heisey or Frazier (or any other MLB ready player) the other way. Way too high a price for soon-to-be 35 year old that you wlil not have on your roster next season. You won’t make this deal only to release and/or demote any of the aforementioned trio. Makes no sense.
About the “possible sell-off” comment. Not sure I’m a complete believer in that either. If you’re one that believes Phils GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. tipped his hand when he dealt Jim Thome to the Orioles, I think you’re mistaken. I believe that was a move made out of necessity and respect for Thome. Let Thome go to a team that has a chance of getting to the postseason and you were confident of Ryan Howard‘s return, and you no longer have a need for a DH with inter-league games in your rear view mirror.
If the Phillies deal Cole Hamels, then I’ll believe the sell-off is underway.