Juan Pierre makes sense for Phillies

Juan Pierre has a.277 batting average over the last two seasons. (Mark Duncan/AP Photo)

UPDATED (11:55 a.m.): The Phillies have agreed to a minor league deal with Juan Pierre with an invitation to spring training.

EARLIER: According to Comcast Sports Net, the Phillies have had "serious" discussions with Juan Pierre about bringing the speedy 34-year-old left fielder to Philadelphia.

The move would make sense because the Phillies do not currently have an experienced fall-back plan in case the combination of Laynce Nix and John Mayberry Jr. does not work out. Pierre has logged at least 400 plate appearances in each of his 11 full seasons as a major leaguer. The two current candidates to start the season at left field -- Laynce Nix and John Mayberry Jr. -- have reached 400 plate appearances once between them (and that was back in 2004, when Nix was a 23-year-old for the Texas Rangers).

But it would be hard to get too excited about such a move.

Pierre won't give you anything in the way of power, and he doesn't leg out nearly as many doubles and triples as he did during his prime with the Rockies and Marlins. Last season, he recorded a career-low 27 stolen bases and was caught a league-leading 17 times. You don't have to do the math to know that ain't a good rate. He'll be 34 years old, and his .277 batting average and .335 on base percentage over the last two seasons are both below his career averages.

Additionally, it would leave Charlie Manuel attempting to cobble together two everyday players with a variety of detached body parts. It would give him two left-handed hitters (Nix and Pierre) along with two right-handed hitters (John Mayberry and Ty Wigginton) for left field, and two left-handed hitters (Nix and Jim Thome) and two right-handed hitters (Mayberry and Wigginton) for first base (until Ryan Howard returns), with Nix having played sparingly at the position and Thome having not played there at all in five years.

Frankly, if it gets to the point where Juan Pierre is your best veteran option as an everyday left fielder, then you probably don't have much to lose by bringing Domonic Brown up and letting him play on a regular basis. 

That said, if Pierre is willing to sign for minimal dollars to reunite with former Marlins teammate Dontrelle Willis as a speed/base-reaching threat off the bench (he has excellent career numbers against lefties), the Phillies wouldn't be any worse for the wear. 


One other note -- ESPN is reporting that the Yankees and Raul Ibanez have some mutual interest in a deal.