Why do they need Pierre?
Pierre has been the most consistent part of the Phillies' outfield and lineup this season. Due to the trades of Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants, at least two outfield holes must be filled by next spring.
After a somewhat encouraging return, Domonic Brown's presence has once again raised questions. It's not that he's played particularly poorly, but the seventh-year professional brought his injury-plagued body with him to Philadelphia. This time knee issues have been the cause for concern.
I'm not a detractor of Brown's and actually think that he could become a decent player. While I'm not comfortable in pronouncing him as a great future force, it's fair to believe that he could realistically fulfill the requirements of a major league job.
However, his physical track record makes me wonder if anointing him as the corner right fielder would invite instability issues. Any player who is injury-prone would likely need to be replaced at various points in a season. That's why re-signing Pierre (who is a left fielder) also makes sense, as he adds depth to the overall outfield situation.
With all due respect to the encouraging aspects of John Mayberry, Junior's season, to Laynce Nix' availability, and to former San Francisco Giant Nate Schierholtz, having proven veteran players on a team is important.
Pierre's 2012 efforts have convinced me that he can be productive again next season.
Setting up the sequel?
Every hardcore Phillies' fan recalls those annoying moments when former Florida, now (Miami) Marlins Pierre and Luis Castillo were constantly on base in the mid-2000s. While Pierre is obviously no longer who he once was, the man still creates positive offensive motion. His thirty-second swipe of this season also tied him for nineteenth place (586 steals) with Dodgers' great Maury Wills on baseball's all-time stolen base leader board.
Detractors will point out that this 35-year-old is a slap-hitter who doesn't have a good outfield arm. I'll take any man who has stayed healthy during his career, puts pressure on pitchers, has a .989 lifetime fielding percentage (including a .993 mark this season), and most importantly serves as a positive role model for his teammates.
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. made room for Pierre when he signed the free agent in January. The Alabama native then played his way onto the roster during many excellent spring training outings. Here's hoping that his 2012 regular season show creates a Phillies' sequel next season.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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