White Sox acquire Juan Pierre from Dodgers
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox got the leadoff man and left fielder they needed. Juan Pierre got the chance to be an everyday player again.
The White Sox acquired Pierre and $10.5 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday for two players to be named.
“They already have a good team in place,” Pierre said on a conference call. “They’ve been accustomed to winning over the last four or five years. I’m looking forward to getting out there on the field on a regular basis.”
The 32-year-old Pierre hit .308 with 30 stolen bases, 57 runs and a .365 on-base percentage in 145 games with the Dodgers last year, getting steady playing time when Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy.
Once Ramirez returned, Pierre became a reserve again.
“Juan always put the Dodgers first, even when it wasn’t in his personal best interest,” Los Angeles general manager Ned Colletti said. “In this day, that is a rare attribute. When he and I spoke at the end of the season, we agreed that if an opportunity presented itself in which his chance to play would be enhanced, we would pursue it and that’s what we’ve done. He deserved the chance to play more.”
Los Angeles is sending Chicago $7 million in 2010 and $3.5 million in 2011 to cover the majority of what remains on Pierre’s $44 million, five-year contract. He is due $10 million next season and $8.5 million in 2011.
“It was a tough situation for me, the coaching staff and the whole organization,” Pierre said. “Everybody knew how much I loved to play and wanted to play, and I felt like I could help the team. But they went in another direction because the young kids can play and Manny’s probably one of the top five hitters ever.”
Pierre was on the 2003 Florida Marlins team that won the World Series. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was the third base coach on that club.
Pierre gives the White Sox a speedy left fielder and leadoff hitter. Scott Podsednik, who filled the leadoff role much of last season, is a free agent.
“Juan is certainly someone that fits the bill,” general manager Ken Williams said. “Love the guy’s work ethic. Love his intensity. He adds a lot to a club, other than just what he does on the field. But what he does on the field is pretty special.”
Pierre is a .301 career hitter with 459 stolen bases, most among active players, and 804 runs scored in 1,433 games with Colorado (2000-02), Florida (2003-05), the Chicago Cubs (2006) and Dodgers (2007-09).
During his three seasons with Los Angeles, Pierre batted .294 with a .339 on-base percentage and 134 stolen bases in 173 attempts.
The White Sox have had a busy offseason. Earlier, they traded for third baseman Mark Teahen, signed reliever J.J. Putz, shortstop Omar Vizquel and outfielder Andruw Jones, and re-signed utility man Mark Kotsay.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” Guillen said. “You’re going to see a lot of different things, a different ballclub. I was looking for the challenge. I was looking to see how good I can be.”
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