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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
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12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Little's Head Is in the Right Place
2007-02-25 21:55
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

But whether it's just wishful thinking from Dodger manager Grady Little is another issue. From Tony Jackson of the Daily News:

Dodgers manager Grady Little said three days ago he didn't want career leadoff man Juan Pierre to change his approach despite the fact he was being dropped to second in the order behind Rafael Furcal, but now he has asked Pierre to be more patient at the plate.

"We talked to him about (that)," Little said. "It might help him get on base more." ...

The question is whether Pierre, who is seven years into what essentially has been a successful career in the majors, can make such an adjustment - or if he should even be asked to, considering the Dodgers lured him to Los Angeles this winter with a five-year, $44 million contract based on the player he already was.

"I'll just go out and play my game," Pierre said. "I don't get a lot of walks, but ... it's not like I'm just up there hacking."

The biggest knock against Pierre is his career on-base percentage (.350) isn't what teams look for from a leadoff man. Pierre doesn't draw many walks, a fact he blames on his lack of power because pitchers aren't afraid to challenge him when they are behind in the count. ...

Little added that he doesn't expect to have Pierre try to bunt Furcal over much, saying that "we're not going to be giving up outs when we have a runner on first who is fully capable of stealing a base."

I still am surprised that Little turned to the faltering Brad Penny in last year's playoffs, because for the most part as a Dodger manager, he has been so rational.

Comments (62)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-02-25 22:08:52
1.   bhsportsguy
It's spring but basketball still on the mind.

Following up Bob's updated standings.

UCLA has clinched #1 seed in Pac-10 Tournament.

Likely matches for seeding in Pac-10 Tournament.

1. USC @ Washington State for second seed.
2. Arizona @ Stanford for a 4th or 5th seed.
3. ASU @ California, a Cal win may get them 7th.
4. Oregon State @ Oregon, an Oregon win guarantees no worse than 5th, best possible finish is 4th.

After this week of upsets, AP and Coaches poll will probably have UCLA at No. 2, WSU around 15-18th, Oregon 18th-20th, and USC 24-25th.

2007-02-25 22:12:50
2.   D4P
"I don't get a lot of walks, but ... it's not like I'm just up there hacking."

True. Hacking implies some degree of power. Slapping, nudging, caressing...all better word choices.

The biggest knock against Pierre is his career on-base percentage (.350) isn't what teams look for from a leadoff man.

Actually, the biggest knock is not so much his career .350 OBP but rather his .326 and .330 OBP the last few years. .350 isn't great, but I think we'd be pretty happy with that in 2007.

Pierre doesn't draw many walks, a fact he blames on his lack of power because pitchers aren't afraid to challenge him when they are behind in the count. ...

If the pitchers are behind in the count, why does he have to swing...? Unless he means 3-2, in which case he'd probably be better off taking more pitches anyway. He'd K more, but he'd also BB more. I suspect he'd probably BB more often than he gets hits when swinging in such situations.

"we're not going to be giving up outs when we have a runner on first who is fully capable of stealing a base."

This statement should have ended after "first".

2007-02-25 22:18:22
3.   natepurcell
2

little is better then most managers in that regards.

2007-02-25 22:20:03
4.   D4P
I'd like to think that my presence in North Carolina is having a positive influence on him...
2007-02-25 22:23:18
5.   natepurcell
some article i read

The Dodger skipper later went on to say that the signal for pitcher Brad Penny to steal third would be third base coach Rich Donnelly jumping into the air and never coming down.

lol, i love grady's humor.

2007-02-25 23:02:53
6.   StolenMonkey86
I wonder if Pierre gets mad from everyone talking about his walking ability. If so, and if he plays angry the same way this guy did, that would produce delightful results.

http://tinyurl.com/rp8so

2007-02-25 23:18:32
7.   Greg Brock
I'm really glad that we've put the Juan Pierre signing behind us, and the Philosopher King is leading us toward other, more interesting story lines.

It would be a shame if we dwelt more on the Pierre Signing. It would be totally counterproductive.

2007-02-25 23:19:39
8.   Andrew Shimmin
Leave it to the mellophone player to bring up Jackie Robinson in a comment about Pier Juan. There's a reason decent people hate your kind.
2007-02-25 23:20:33
9.   CanuckDodger
Has anyone else heard about the Dodgers signing LHP Eric Cyr to a minor league contract? If the organization is going to tout its commitment to acquiring players with good character, I don't think it should be giving even a minor league deal to a guy who spent time in jail for having sex with a 15-year-old girl (something Cyr pleaded guilty to doing on a flight from New Zealand to Los Angeles, in the bathroom).
2007-02-25 23:21:45
10.   D4P
Pier Juan

I'll take that as an implicit compliment.

2007-02-25 23:22:35
11.   D4P
9
Sounds like the guy likes being in the minors...
2007-02-25 23:26:44
12.   Icaros
11

Hats off to you, sir.

2007-02-25 23:28:18
13.   Greg Brock
I'm so confused. Jon tells us to have patience, tells us the Juan Pierre debate is already stale, and asks us to be reluctant when attacking a Dodger.

Then, he posts a Pierre story, almost daring us to bash the guy from here to Jupiter. What do you want from us, Jon? Should we bash the Bullethead, or should we leave Juan enough alone?

What do you want from us!!

2007-02-25 23:28:31
14.   trainwreck
Yes, yes. Well done indeed.
2007-02-25 23:34:59
15.   Dodgers49
OK, so we now know how he got the name.

>>> Pierre's ties to baseball started at birth when his father, James, a former college player at Grambling, named his son after Juan Marichal, his favorite big league player. >>>

http://tinyurl.com/yr6onn

2007-02-25 23:39:02
16.   trainwreck
He was born to be a Giant.
2007-02-26 01:07:12
17.   bhsportsguy
16 Perhaps, you have forgotten where he retired.

http://tinyurl.com/2qybxw

2007-02-26 01:18:57
18.   overkill94
9 You trying to tell me there's an age of consent over international waters?
2007-02-26 01:26:34
19.   Greg Brock
I have tomorrow off, and I'm grading papers and putting together lesson plans...And what movie comes on?

The Goonies. Good Lord...How I love The Goonies.

2007-02-26 01:55:14
20.   Greg Brock
In third grade, I cheated on my history exam

In fourth grade, I stole my Uncle Max's toupee and I glued it on my face when I played Moses in my Hebrew School play

I fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog

My Mom sent me to a Summer Camp for fat kids and at third lunch I went nuts, and they kicked me out!

But the worst thing I ever done...

2007-02-26 05:50:54
21.   3upn3down
When it rains, it pours. I'm several posts behind. In response to the Randy Wolfe pitch hitting comment, and the Tim Leary reference, I believe I was at a game in 1994 where Darren Dreifort came in and got a PH RBI in an extra inning game. I can't remember if it was to tie it, or to put the guys ahead, but my memory as a 17 year old kid leads me to believe it was a outstanding moment. I also remember a Jim Gott blown save, but I may be reaching here. I'm not proficient with baseball prospectus, but maybe someone can find the box score for me.

Thanks.

2007-02-26 06:35:01
22.   Jon Weisman
This was a Grady Little post, not a Juan Pierre post.
2007-02-26 06:47:30
23.   Bumsrap
We all know this. Slap hitters put the ball into play and doing so results in usually making an out. Big swingers miss the ball or foul it into the stands more and doing so makes the pitcher throw more pitches and that can lead to a walk and that leads to a higher obp.

If Pierre hits a ball thrown down the middle the pitcher fears for his life less than if the same pitch is hit by a power hitter. Pierre will get more pitches in the strike zone than a power hitter will.

Pierre will never enjoy a high obp. The powerful Yankees played Mickey Rivers and now the Dodgers will play Juan Pierre, that is until June 1 when he will become a Giant.

2007-02-26 06:54:49
24.   Bumsrap
The Dodgers might make a trade but wouldn't it be fun to one day have a rotation of Miller, Elbert, Kershaw, Billingsley, and Kuo/Meloan?
2007-02-26 07:39:32
25.   Steve
This post is about the second to the last paragraph, and it is welcome news.
2007-02-26 07:41:31
26.   Greg S
21. I remember Dreifort's hit as a line drive up the middle. I can picture my vantage point in watching it. That said, I wouldn't be shocked to find out it never happened. That's the unfortunate thing about getting old.
2007-02-26 07:42:24
27.   Bob Timmermann
18
I would assume the laws for the country or state where the plane departed apply.

Unless you are planning to go up in an airplane and do something weird like marry a cow.

2007-02-26 07:46:27
28.   Greg S
27 Why marry it when you can get the milk for free?
2007-02-26 08:19:26
29.   StolenMonkey86
8 - Calling someone a mellophone player is like calling someone a triangle player; sure they might do it, but not all the time, and that's certainly not what they want to be known by. The mellophone exists because marching a french horn is stupid.

And all I was doing was giving an example of a guy who played aggressively, didn't strike out a lot, hit for good average, and got about 80 walks a year.

2007-02-26 08:23:00
30.   StolenMonkey86
28 - My grocery store doesn't let me get the milk for free.
2007-02-26 08:28:31
31.   dzzrtRatt
So I must have missed the designation of Furcal as lead-off hitter, Pierre as #2.

Does Pierre hit into a lot of double-plays? Since he's a career lead-off, my guess is no. Is he fast going to first? Does he beat out a lot of ground balls?

Pollyana would say: Furcal singles, steals second. Pierre hits a ground ball to the right -- a productive out! Furcal's at third, ready to score on any kind of hit or sac fly. It could work.

2007-02-26 08:36:40
32.   Benaiah
CanuckDodger, could you post a link to that Gurnick story on La Roche that you mentioned yesterday? I can't find it on the Dodgers.com site.
2007-02-26 08:42:52
33.   ToyCannon
Goonies:)
2007-02-26 08:47:49
34.   LAT
Bob, sounds like post 18 will be dropping by the library to do some research on international law.
2007-02-26 09:08:57
35.   Greg S
30. Yes, can be tough to get free milk. And so often when you do, it's already gone bad.
2007-02-26 09:09:31
36.   Disabled List
21, 26 I posted about the Darren Dreifort game in the other thread. It's got a link to the b-r.com boxscore.

I also remember his hit as being a shot up the middle. It's interesting that four DT posters (at least) were at this one random game 13 years ago.

2007-02-26 09:32:39
37.   Bob Timmermann
34
If aviation law is like admiralty law, if you commit a crime on board an aircraft that is not connected to the aircraft's operation (aka you're not hijacking it), you are tried under the laws of your home country.

In the case of Cyr, he was arrested in 2001 for statutory rape on a Qantas flight from Brisbane to LAX.

Cyr, who was born in Canada, but lives in Oklahoma, was arrested by the FBI when the plane landed.

I haven't been able to find out what the final disposition of the case.

2007-02-26 09:33:48
38.   dsfan
Not to pile on here, but the recent reporting on Pierre does stimulate discussion. Tony Jackson tells us pitchers aren't afraid to challenge Pierre when they are behind in the count. Shouldn't the sentence end after Pierre? Why any pitcher would walk Pierre or fail to challenge him with every pitch is beyond me. He is neither short nor powerful nor patient. He strikes me as one of the most comfortable at-bats for a pitcher. Walking him should incur a fine.

Making the best of a contrived situation is what Little is trying to do. What should Pierre's approach be when Furcal is on first base? Should he resolve to make the pitcher throw at least two strikes before he swings? Maybe that's what Little's driving at. One of Pierre's strengths is contact ability so he really shouldn't be nervous at batting with two strikes.

I know Jon is reluctant to see more Pierre debates, but the latest chapter deserves more commentary from him. Did the Dodgers even ponder these dynamics when they gave Pierre $44 million? The manager is suggesting new tricks to an old dog who just got $44 million from the manager's employer. Don't these people communicate?

2007-02-26 09:41:18
39.   Benaiah
The hardballtimes today has an article that mentions that Pierre strikes out less than anyone this side of Tony Gwynn in the very modern era.
2007-02-26 09:43:35
40.   CajunDodger
Non-sequitur of the day. As bad as Pierre is, imagine if Corey Patterson had been a FA this year and not next (when Ichiro, Torii Hunter, and Andruw Jones are all hitting the market). The Dodgers may have out bid the Giants for 4 years and $32 million.

As a matter of detached entertainment, I would LOVE to have seen sphincters on this sight and TrueBlue LA tighten when the the rumors of "significant interest from the Dodger front office" surfaced.

2007-02-26 09:47:31
41.   D4P
I have heard it suggested elsewhere the Pierre should "learn to foul off more pitches". If that is a skill that can actually be learned, why isn't it taught more?
2007-02-26 09:52:55
42.   Sam DC
self-indulgent moment

Friday night, my wife was out, and my six-year old was causing a bit of a ruckus at bedtime. Meanwhile, I had to go take care of the 2 year old. Me, in my stern Dad voice: "Look, I've gotta go get your brother. I'll be back in two minutes and you need to shape up and get ready for bed. [scowl]."

So, I go do my other thing and come back, and find he's lying on his back in the middle of the floor, knees splayed out with his feet touching sole to sole, and his hands in a point over his head. Me (short-tempered, trying to figure out how to respond to this goofy challenge to my dadly authority): "Hey! Didn't I tell you to shape up and get ready for bed?!?!"

Him: "I did Daddy. I'm a triangle."

And indeed, he was.

Kid 1 -- Dad 0 (again).

2007-02-26 09:57:46
43.   Greg Brock
Sam DC JR. > Sam DC
2007-02-26 09:58:47
44.   CajunDodger
38
Even worse than his walk rate and his OBP is his number of pitches/PA. 3.43 for his career, though it is trending upward to the tune of 3.56 for the past 3 years.

Pierre may be right about pitchers attacking the strike zone knowing that a single is the worst that can happen, but they can't be throwing 3 straight in the happy zone every time can they?

2007-02-26 10:01:18
45.   Sam DC
43: Yeah, but you need a few more >.

[beams]

2007-02-26 10:04:46
46.   D4P
The modal number of pitches seen by Pierre in his PAs in 2006 was 2. His most common PA involved a strike on the first pitch, followed by making an out on the second pitch.
2007-02-26 10:06:57
47.   Greg Brock
His most common PA involved a strike on the first pitch, followed by making an out on the second pitch.

It's statements like that one that really make it hit home...

2007-02-26 10:12:15
48.   Sam DC
Are those three dots the sound of Greg Brock rushing off to berate his new friends at ItD?
2007-02-26 10:14:09
49.   CajunDodger
46
That's just plain scary. I really am liking the whole 2-slot thing more and more given that he will never bat in the 8-hole. I would like Martin or Ethier better, but at least some of those 400+ outs have a chance at being productive.
2007-02-26 10:21:42
50.   dsfan
46

Egads.

Little probably would bat Pierre eighth but the front office would pitch a fit. Hard to infer accurately, but it appears that Little is trying to make the best of a tough situation by batting Pierre second and suggesting that he be more patient, partly because the new role calls for it.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-02-26 10:25:00
51.   CajunDodger
Here are some more fun nuggets, you know for giggles.

Pierre's AB/HR career ratio is 342.5/1 (wow) ; his average GIDP is 7 (pretty good knowing that there were a lot of #8 guys and pitchers on base); IBB is 4...FOR HIS CAREER. That is roughly 0.6 per year.

Numbers are fun...

2007-02-26 10:27:02
52.   D4P
For comparison, Furcal's most common PA involved a 3-2 count followed by making an out. However, his OBP in such situations was .486. Pierre's OBP in the afore-mentioned 0-1 count situation was .312
2007-02-26 10:31:28
53.   Benaiah
I imagine that due to the nature of the game the most common outcome for every player is an out.
2007-02-26 10:32:47
54.   ssjames
53 Excepting 2002 Bonds, I would agree with you. Didn't he have like .600 obp that year?
2007-02-26 10:33:08
55.   D4P
53
Yeah, that's why I added the OBPs in 52
2007-02-26 10:34:26
56.   ssjames
54 Err, make that 2004 when he had a .609 obp, which is so ridiculous it should be illegal, and, in fact, was although no one was policing it at the time.
2007-02-26 10:35:47
57.   CajunDodger
53
I think that the key, though, is that the out comes on the 2nd pitch. I would love to see my top two guys in the lineup combine to eat at least 8-10 pitches on the first go-round to give the meat of your lineup something to see.
2007-02-26 10:35:49
58.   D4P
53
That being said, however, it is not uncommon for players to have OBPs over .500 for certain pitch counts (and thus for the most common outcome in those situations to not be an out)
2007-02-26 10:49:00
59.   underdog
We're having an adventure just like the Goonies!

In that same note about the Dodgers bring Eric Cyr in for minor league camp, was a note that they'd also invited former Dodger Larry Barnes. I think these signings are of the bringing in some more warm bodies to camp variety and nothing more. Although in Cyr's case warm bodies may... no, I'll stop right there.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Cyr

2007-02-26 10:53:24
60.   Greg Brock
Alan Arkin, Oscar winner and sane human being, on his Little Miss Sunshine co-star:

"I hope she loses frankly. No, I'm serious. I am not joking...I hope she loses. What, next year she is going to get the Nobel Prize, it's enough. She has had enough attention. I love her and I love her family; and I feel enough is enough. She is a kid; she needs to have a childhood....I hope she loses."

2007-02-26 10:57:33
61.   Benaiah
58 - I agree on all counts, Pierre most likely at bat being a strike and an out is pathetic. I was just noting that most players would have an out as their most likely outcome.

One interesting thing about Grady Little setting this up before the season, is that there is now a clear expectation and if that expectation isn't met than there can be consequences. If in June Pierre has 5 walks total, and Grady pushes him back to 8th, then he can point to his preseason comments as the reason why.

2007-02-26 11:08:35
62.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.

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