11/22/2006 3:38 PM ET
Dodgers sign Pierre to five-year contract
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they have signed outfielder Juan Pierre to a five-year contract through 2011, according to Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.
"Juan's ability to hit combined with his speed make him a perfect catalyst for our lineup," said Colletti. "His work ethic and character are second-to-none and he knows what it takes to win. He's dedicated to the community and I truly believe the city of Los Angeles is going to love this player."
Pierre, 29, led the National League in hits last season with 204 and has finished in the Top 3 in that category while topping the 200-hit plateau in four of the last five seasons. Since 2001, he has registered 1,182 hits, the second-most in baseball behind Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.
The left-handed hitting outfielder has finished first or second in the National League in stolen bases in each of the past six seasons, including a career-high 65 steals in 2003. His 318 thefts since 2001 lead all Major Leaguers and his 325 career swipes rank seventh among all active players.
In 2006, Pierre led the National League in singles (156) and tied for the league lead in multi-hit games with 64 while playing for the Cubs. He set a career high with 32 doubles and matched his career best with 13 triples for the second consecutive season. Pierre did not commit an error in 384 total chances in center field.
Pierre also paced the NL in games played last year for the fourth consecutive season, as he has played in 497 consecutive games dating back to 2002, the second-longest streak in the Major Leagues behind Miguel Tejada (918). Over those four seasons, Pierre has also been the hardest player in the league to strike out each year and is the leader in that category among active players, fanning just once every 16.5 at-bats.
One of the top bunters in the game, Pierre has ranked second in the Majors in bunt hits in each of the past four seasons after leading all of baseball in that category in 2001 and 2002. Since 2001, he has logged 135 bunt hits, 50 more than Alex Sanchez, who ranks second during that period. Pierre also has 72 sacrifice bunts during that span, the second-most in the Major Leagues behind Omar Vizquel.
During the Marlins' championship season of 2003, Pierre finished 10th in NL MVP voting, as he led the league in five categories, including games (162), at-bats (668), stolen bases (65), singles (168) and sacrifice hits (15). That year, he was honored by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum with the James "Cool Papa" Bell Award for leading the league in thefts. In the World Series, Pierre batted .333 with a .481 on-base percentage in six games.
A native of Mobile, Alabama, Pierre attended the University of South Alabama after graduating from Alexandria High School in Louisiana, where he was the valedictorian. He has been committed to the community in each of his previous stints with Colorado (2000-02), Florida (2003-05) and Chicago (2006).