Outfielder Juan Pierre has made the Philadelphia Phillies’ 40-man roster, the team announced Thursday. Pierre was initially signed to a minor league contract with the team, although today the Phillies purchased Pierre’s contract and placed him on the official 40-man roster. He is expected to be on the roster come Opening Day.
Pierre, 34, hit .279/.329/.327 with two home runs and 50 RBIs in 711 plate appearances for the Chicago White Sox in 2011, the final season of a five-year, $44 million deal he signed prior to the 2007 season. Pierre stole 27 bases, although he did lead the league in times caught stealing (17) for the seventh time in his career.
According to Baseball Reference, Pierre accumulated just 0.1 offensive Wins Above Replacement but also cost his team the same amount in left field, meaning the White Sox paid $8.5 million for a player that contributed essentially nothing over what an average Triple-A player would contribute. That’s precisely why the Phillies signed him to just a minor league deal, although it’s looking more and more like he will be on the roster come April 6.
The Phillies don’t need both Pierre and Scott Podsednik, so it’s likely that one or the other will make it, and Pierre seems to be the odds-on favorite. Pierre can play left field and center field, although he doesn’t have a particularly strong arm. He could serve as a left-handed bat off the bench and spell either John Mayberry, Jr. or Laynce Nix in left field.