Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 30, 2012
Since back in June, Reds have quietly evaluated Juan Pierre as possible target. Won't cost much, great clubhouse guy, good # against RHP.—
Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2012
Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 30, 2012
So, yeah, there seems to be a legitimate chance this is going to happen. But the Reds don’t need a leadoff hitter, and they certainly don’t need Juan Pierre.
For starters, they have a perfectly good leadoff hitter, if only they’d use him there. Drew Stubbs strikes out a whole lot and has a disappointing OBP this year, but when he bats at the top of the order, he scores runs, which is the name of the game.
Here’s some NL leadoff hitters and their career runs scored per game from the leadoff spot:
.738 – Rickie Weeks – 440 R in 596 G
.715 – Rafael Furcal – 986 R in 1,379 G
.714 – Stubbs – 130 R in 182 G
.702 – Jimmy Rollins – 927 R in 1,321 G
.694 – Jose Reyes – 722 R in 1,040 G
.665 – Dexter Fowler – 177 R in 266 G
.616 – Michael Bourn – 357 R in 580 G
.601 – Pierre – 827 R in 1,377 G
As the list shows, it’s a lot easier to score runs when you drive yourself in once in a while.
While Pierre might be of some use to the Reds as a fifth outfielder, it’s doubtful the team would use him that way if he was picked up. Instead, he’s start playing a lot of left field over a guy who has 17 homers in Ryan Ludwick. And while Pierre still has some pretty good overall numbers himself with a .306 average, .346 OBP and 23 steals, most of his production came early on; he’s getting on base at about a .320 clip for the last 2 1/2 months. He’d likely make the offense worse every time he’s penciled in.