The Phillies didn’t have many moves left to make as the countdown to Spring Training turns from months to weeks to days. But Ruben Amaro Jr. did say he wanted one last bench piece for the 2012 Phillies. He specifically noted speed.
The Phillies now have that speedy threat that could win the game with his feet in late-game spots. Juan Pierre, the well-traveled outfielder, has signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies.
Many people gave Scott Podsednik a chance to make the Phillies solely because of his speed. Now, Pierre gets that shot as well.
At first glance, two of the Phillies’ lesser players take you back to the 2003 Florida Marlins. I mean, first Dontrelle Willis, now Juan Pierre.
But a closer shows this is actually the type of player the Phillies need. Last season, the Phillies relied on guys like Michael Martinez, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Wilson Valdez to be pinch-running options, and even some of them didn’t see action in the role. Now, the Phillies have a sure-fire speed threat on the bases.
Pierre has stolen 554 bases in his 12-year career, and if you think speed is lost with age, note that the 34-year-old stole a league-leading 68 bases with the Chicago White Sox in 2010. In 2011, also with the White Sox, he stole 27.
Aside from his time with the Marlins, where he took home a World Series, and White Sox, Pierre played with the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.