Commentary

BP Daily: Cool Manny could open debate

A career-best effort from Juan Pierre has raised unexpected issues in L.A.

Originally Published: July 3, 2009
By Steven Goldman | Baseball Prospectus

With Manny Ramirez about to return to the Dodgers' lineup after completing his suspension, there has been much grumbling about the supposed great injustice about to be suffered by Juan Pierre. Despite having done such a fine job substituting for Ramirez, the speedy singles hitter is about to head back to the bench. This is somehow construed to be unjust, but just as was true at the start of the season, the bench is the only appropriate destination for Pierre given an outfield already stocked with Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.

As a fourth outfielder, Pierre did his job, which was to give the Dodgers useful production in the absence of one of the starters. His performance is remarkable only in the context of the Dodgers' having no alternative to Pierre himself -- the fall-off from Ramirez to Pierre or a theoretical replacement-level substitute promised to be vast, and it was, but not to the degree that might have been expected given by how much Pierre outplayed his usual middling standards. He has never hit as well as he is hitting right now.