10/16/08 7:36 PM EST
Pierre seeks playing time via trade
Agent asks Dodgers to find 'better fit' for speedy outfielder
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
And if the Dodgers won't play him, he wants them to find a team that will.
With Pierre's second season in Los Angeles complete, the displaced outfielder's agent said he's hopeful the complex offseason maneuverings the club faces include addressing Pierre's awkward situation.
"Juan has never questioned the players Joe Torre has put on the field," said Mark Pieper of SFX, Pierre's agent. "The team was winning with them out there. That's not the issue. He understands the situation, he understands why those are the players that have been playing. It's just an unfortunate situation as it relates to Juan.
"The team has gone in a different direction since it signed him. He has no hard feelings toward anybody. But his preference would be a trade to a team with more playing time than he currently gets. He'll drop any no-trade clause he has to make that happen. Maybe there's a better fit."
The Dodgers signed Pierre to a five-year, $44 million contract after the 2006 season to be their everyday center fielder, replacing Kenny Lofton. He has three years and $28.5 million left on that contract, which will not be easy to trade.
He gave them a typical first season -- .293 average, 96 runs scored, 64 stolen bases. But lacking a power bat in the middle of his lineup, general manager Ned Colletti thought he signed one in Andruw Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove center fielder.
Pierre, whose throwing arm from center field was considered a defensive liability, stepped aside for Jones by moving to left field in Spring Training but lost his starting job altogether to Andre Ethier when the season opened.
Pierre was the fourth outfielder with Jones starting in center, and even after Jones was injured, Pierre wound up back on the bench when Manny Ramirez was acquired as Matt Kemp moved from right field to center.
After playing 162 games in each of the preceding five seasons, Pierre played in only 119 this year (starting 85), which included his first stint on the disabled list for four weeks with a sprained knee ligament. His 375 at-bats were the fewest since his 2000 rookie season. He scored 44 runs with 40 steals and hit .283.
Teammates say Jones wants no part of a return to Los Angeles, where he was a target of angry fans for his poor performance. Ramirez is a free agent. At least until their situations are resolved, Pierre is outfield insurance for the Dodgers.
"It should be clear that Juan in no way harbors any hard feelings," Pieper said. "He just wants to play. And he's very appreciative of the way the other outfielders played this year. At the same time, we are in this situation. Playing once in a while is not in the best interests of the Dodgers or Juan."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.