The Phillies have announced that they have signed free agent outfielder Juan Pierre to a minor league contract and it includes an invitation to Spring Training. Pierre, 34, spent the 2011 season with the White Sox and batted .279 with 27 stolen bases while playing everyday in left field.
Yesterday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that the New York Mets are keeping a close eye on the available left handed hitting free agent outfielders which had included Juan Pierre as well as Raul Ibanez, Rick Ankiel, Kosuke Fukudome and Johnny Damon. Crasnick also added that the surplus of free agent outfielders who fit the Mets criteria will give the cash-strapped Mets some negotiating leverage.
With Jason Bay entrenched in left field and Lucas Duda projected to start everyday in right field, this may signal that Andres Torres could be sharing centerfield with a platoon mate. The Mets already had adequate backups in Scott Hairston and Mike Baxter, so thye may be looking for something more if Ankiel, Damon and Ibanez are on their radar.
Thoughts From Joe D.
Obviously the left handed hitting Duda will not be effected by such an acquisition, so this could also signal that Bay could lose some playing time against right-handed pitching in an attempt to keep him from reaching the 500 plate appearances that will help trigger his 2014 vesting option for $17 million. That option becomes guaranteed with 500 PA in 2012 and 2013. It’s interesting to note that while Pierre, Damon and Ankiel have each played centerfield in the past, neither of them did in 2011 and all of them have lost lots of range over the years. I’m thinking the Mets are looking ahead and making sure that Bay’s contract is definitely off the books in 2014.