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.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .