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Juan Pierre Wants Out, Sounds Good to L.A.

In the aftermath of the Dodgers' signing of Manny Ramirez last week, the story was spun to make everyone a winner. The Dodgers were winners because they kept one of the best hitters in baseball history. Manny was a winner because he got a deal worth $25 million for a year. And even agent Scott Boras was a winner, because he got an opt-out clause in the contract after a single year, giving Ramirez an out if the economy turns the corner.

In truth one guy was a really big loser: Juan Pierre. The outfielder who was a starter in L.A. right up until Manny arrived is not so hot on the idea of sitting on the bench for an entire season, and within a couple of days, the Dodgers officially green-lighted Pierre's request to search out a trade. Here's what the outfielder, who has now been pushed out of an everyday role by Ramirez for two straight years, told's Ken Gurnick about playing in L.A.:

"I understand the situation, and if they hadn't signed Manny, it would have been a surprise," said Pierre. "I'm not bitter about it. I totally get it, you know what I mean? But I want to play. So they gave us permission to talk to teams and try to find a situation that can work out for everybody, and that's all I can ask for."

It's understandable that Pierre wants a trade. After all, everyone wants to play. Still, Pierre's contract is so rich that it would take a pretty stunning shift for any team to accept it without a substantial subsidy from the Dodgers. Pierre still has some $28.5 million and three years remaining on his $44 million deal, an amount which has inspired Pierre to openly consider deferring a significant amount of his contract to make himself more attractive to a future team.

So how much would Pierre have to defer to become an attractive outfielder in the current economy? Tom Tango, another popular baseball blogger, has an incredibly specific and frighting proposition: He needs to sign a league minimum contract and defer all extra compensation for 50 years.

Here's how Tango's logic breaks down:

Basically (as a free agent with no strings attached), he'd get 2MM, and at that, a one year contract. Let's be nice, and say some team would give him 2.85MM. However, the Dodgers are on the hook for 28.5MM (spread over three years).

If we presume a 5% rate of return, Pierre's new team could invest $2.45MM in a 50yr bond that will mature at a value of $28.1MM. And if they give him a league minimum salary this year, Pierre will get his $28.5MM.

So, if Pierre is serious about wanting to play this year, and away from the impossible competition he faces with the Dodgers, then he must defer his salary for 50 years, and sign at the league minimum. The signing team pays him what he is worth (0.4 + 2.45 = 2.85).

It's a brash claim, and clearly at least a little over the top. But is Tango on to something? What do people think about the author of "The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball" and his rather aggressive plan for new employment for Pierre? And who might be interested in Pierre if he did come without strings attached?

By Cameron Smith  |  March 9, 2009; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Dodgers  
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I can't argue with Tango's math, but the value he places on Pierre is too shy and placing a one year value on a guy in a multi-year situation is not right. Pierre is locked-up for 3 more years and the value of his deal now may be way higher than market, but that may not be that case in the coming several years. Brian Roberts should be a solid comp. I guess that if Brian Roberts (BTW, I know A-Rod is a big sory and all but how DID Roberts manage to avoid every journalistic microscope when it comes to 'roids?) is worth his contract (or if Furcal, a much older guy, is worth $10M per year), then Pierre has got to be worth more than $2.85M on a one year deal. White Sox maybe?

Posted by: dfh123 | March 9, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

There must be some value to the Dodgers to not have to pay him 28 million.

Maybe it is worth 14 million to L.A.

Posted by: Pensfans | March 9, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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