Amid a cloud of speculation that his services will no longer be needed with the rebuilding Miami Marlins, veteran outfielder Juan Pierre wants to be very clear in his desires for 2014.
According to a report from Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Pierre has expressed a sincere desire to keep playing through at least next season. At 36 years old, Pierre’s talents have likely diminished considerably over the years, but his quotes certainly provide no wiggle room:
“I’m fine. I understand the situation. I still love to play, that’s no secret. I still work out like I’m going to be out there every day. I hope to get a chance to get a job for next year.
Pierre went on to say that he “still feels like (he) can play at this level”, but to be honest, I’m not sure that is the case. In 2013, Pierre was a “negative” player in terms of wins above replacement at -0.4 (via FanGraphs), and his defense has been a documented issue for years. His slash line of .247/.284/.305 also leaves a lot to be desired, and if Pierre can’t get on base at a reasonable rate (which .284 is certainly not), he won’t be able to use his one and only elite skill as a base runner.
Even with all of that, Pierre could easily find a job in 2014. If he is deployed correctly (and not used a starter as he was, at times, in Miami), there could be value as a situational talent. I feel strongly that there will be someone in the league that will give Pierre a chance, and the ball will be in his court to hit enough to take advantage of that opportunity.