The Dodgers Purge Pierre

RALEIGH— In 2007 the Dodgers, not to be upstaged by the cross town rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who had just signed center-fielder Gary Matthews, Jr to a 5 year $50M contract, signed center-fielder Juan Pierre to a 5 year $44M contract.

After one year of watching every catcher in the league stretch singles into doubles and triples while Mr. Pierre “fielded” his position in center the Dodgers decided to sign another center fielder with more prowess in the field and at the plate. Again, not to be upstaged by the cross town rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who had just acquired Tori Hunter (at $18M per-season) to replace Gary Matthews, Jr, the Dodgers signed Andruw Jones at $18.1M per-season.

After watching three months of futility by an overweight broken-down Andruw Jones in center, while watching a fit and spry Tori Hunter across town the Dodgers were displeased, and upstaged. A deal had to be made. So General Manager Ned Colletti worked a deal to get a slugger on the roster. One who could actually hit, even if he couldn’t field. Manny Ramirez was the prize and arrived costs covered for the final third of the season. Finally success in the outfield.

Mr. Jones was sent away with his contract. The Dodgers bought him out allowing Mr. Jones to continue sucking wind and eating KFC in other parts of the country far removed from Chavez Ravine. In the end the Dodgers effectively paid a bench player $36.2M for one season.

Celebration was in order, for the Dodgers and Mr. Ramirez had finally found a match made in heaven. The Dodgers offered Mr. Ramirez a two-year $45M contract and Mr. Ramirez promptly shot himself in the ass. He was suspended, without pay, for 50 games for illegal steroid use. Mr. Pierre jumped at the opportunity, producing the second best season in his rather unimpressive career (105 OPS+, merely 5% better than league average). A season which was 21% less than Mr. Ramirez’s worst career season (126 OPS+).

The Dodgers saw an out from Mr. Pierre and promptly traded him to the White Sox, sending along a gift package of $9M to cut in half the remaining debt owed Mr. Pierre. With this move the Dodgers have effectively paid a bench player $11M a year for 3 years.

In the end the Dodgers have had three outfielders who so far have combined to be paid $88M for a total of 5 1/3 seasons of service time with the Dodgers in a three year span. Four and one thirds seasons of that service time has been spent on the bench and/or producing at a rate below even an average bench player. The bright side though is that the most productive of the three outfielders has come at a cost roughly equal to that of a single season of a bench warming Juan Pierre.

Player Total Amount Paid Years of Service Avg Annual Line (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS) OPS+ Games
Andruw $36.2M 1 $36.2M .158 /.256 /.249 /.505 35 75
Pierre $34.5M 3 $11.5M .294/.339/.357/.696 84 426
Ramirez $17.3M 1 1/3 $13.0M .327/.442/.605/1.047 178 153
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