The signing of Juan Pierre is now official and while it’s clear on this blog and others that it hasn’t been lauded by many of you, I sure you hope you will all give him a chance to win you over. I’m sure there are more moves coming, so let’s wait until we see the finished product before everyone judges the 2007 team.
I guess the one thing I’m surprised is how much everyone seems to be stunned by the price tag compared to other players around the league. I think that you have to look at each free agent market separately and not compare them from year to year. Putting Soriano’s contract aside, if Gary Matthews, a 32-year-old, is a $50 million player over five years and he’s got a career average of .263, a career OBP of .336 and only 78 homers and 315 RBI, I think that’s an indication of what it costs to get players on the open market this offseason. And if the reports are correct and he was offered four years with comparable annual money by the Giants, I’d certainly rather him with us than playing for our rivals.
I also think that when you talk about hard workers, it’s hard to cast that aside as just something nice to have. We’ve all seen players over the years who, once they sign a big contract, they’re not nearly as motivated (with the exception of a walk year). With Pierre, we’re not only getting a very talented leadoff man in his prime, but I don’t think we’re going to have some guy dogging it five years from now. Plus, with the way the market has currently been going, who’s to say that five years from now, $9 million won’t be a bargain for a leadoff hitter.
My final thought has to do with Matt Kemp, who many believe gets hindered by this signing. While I think most people agree that he’s still got some seasoning left in the minors, he’s actually played as much, if not more games in right field during his career than in center field. So maybe, when Pierre wins his second world championship, Kemp will be playing alongside him somewhere. Maybe not, but only time will tell.