Juan Pierre is no Nostradamus. The fleet outfielder needs to leave the predictions to his close friend Jimmy Rollins.
During the early days of spring training, Pierre wouldn’t predict whether he could beat out Scott Podsednik for the fifth outfielder spot.
Pierre earned the gig and went on to become one of the few pleasant surprises in 2012. Pierre also believed the Phillies would go deep in the playoffs with or without him.
“I think I have something to offer this team, but the Phillies won 102 games last season,” Pierre said in Clearwater. “Whatever ball they played last year, long ball, small ball, worked. This is a team that’s going to have a great season whether I make this team or not.”
Pierre couldn’t have been more wrong but many pundits agreed with him in March.
“Baseball is a funny game,” Pierre said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something you’ve never seen happens.”
Few could have envisioned the wheels falling off the Phillies’ $175 million bus when the season commenced. The core of their lineup, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, missed half of the season. Roy Halladay was himself for only the first six weeks. Doc had an injury-marred season. The bullpen was a first-half disaster. But the 35-year-old Pierre has been very good. He has hit .313 in over 400-plate appearances. He also leads the team with 35 stolen bases.
“I’ve had a great time being here with this team,” Pierre said. “I love coming here every day to play with these guys.”
It’ll be interesting to see if the Phils bring Pierre back next season. Since Victorino is gone, so they have just two real threats to steal bags, in Rollins and Pierre.
The Phillies figure to play young outfielder Darin Ruf and Nate Schierholtz over the next two weeks. Pierre will likely sit on the bench the rest of the way.
“I’ll do whatever the team says,” Pierre said.
Will Pierre come back or will he take a better offer elsewhere?
“I love playing here,” Pierre said “But regarding the future, I can’t make any predictions.”