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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hey Joe, Where You Goin' With That Pierre In Your Hand?

If there's one adjective that seems to be wholly fitting of this 2008 Dodgers lineup, it's "squandered". Today, Joe Sheehan bags on Joe Torre for squandering the fruits of the Manny Ramirez trade by running out Juan Pierre instead of Andre Ethier:
Juan Pierre steals bases better than Ethier does, and the two players’ defense is about a wash. Ethier gets on base more, and hits for so much more power that the difference dwarfs everything else about the two—hence the 26-point edge in EqA. Ethier was also better last year, and has been the better player than Pierre from the moment he stepped into the league. This isn’t a debatable point—Andre Ethier is a better baseball player than Juan Pierre. He’s also a better player than Andruw Jones, a point that seems obvious enough that I’ll spare you a chart ilustrating the concept.

...As Bil Burke reports, no team in the National League got worse run production from its leadoff spot [while Pierre was batting leadoff in the period immediately following Furcal's injury]:

Runs scored from leadoff spot, May 6–June 29
Dodgers 20
Nationals 20
Reds 21
Rockies 22
Braves 24
Diamondbacks 24
Astros 24

...

If the Dodgers fail to reach the postseason, it will be in part because Furcal got hurt. You can’t just ignore that part of the equation. But it will be just as much because Joe Torre elected to kneecap his offense by putting a bad baseball player in a critical role, and stubbornly sticking with that decision despite what it was doing to his offense.

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