Dip into the Wells

September 07, 2006 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

I was cruising around the Cubs site when I saw their current poll. "Should the Cubs try to sign Juan Pierre to a long-term deal?" The current results are 79% to 21% in favor of re-signing him. Honestly I can't understand why. While he's not a horrible lead-off batter, he's really not all that great either, especially not for what he'll command for a salary. I went through and ranked all 30 teams' leadoff guys by OBP (On Base Percentage) to see how Juan stacks up. These leadoff guys were derived from the depth charts provided by Rototimes.com.

Player Team Runs OBP
1. Reed Johnson TOR 76 .390
2. Grady Sizemore CLE 114 .377
3. Dave Roberts SD 66 .376
4. Jamey Carroll COL 69 .371
5. Maicer Izturis LAA 57 .369
6. David DeJesus KC 69 .368
7. Johnny Damon NYY 103 .367
8. Jason Kendall OAK 64 .367
9. Ryan Freel CIN 64 .366
10. Ichiro Suzuki SEA 87 .365
11. Gary Matthews TEX 83 .364
12. Rickie Weeks MIL 73 .363
13. Brian Roberts BAL 75 .361
14. Rafael Furcal LAD 94 .360
15. Alfonso Soriano WAS 105 .360
16. Jose Reyes NYM 111 .353
17. Luis Castillo MIN 78 .352
18. Marcus Giles ATL 78 .351
19. Carl Crawford TB 75 .346
20. Alfredo Almezaga FLA 37 .342
21. Jimmy Rollins PHI 109 .342
22. Curtis Granderson DET 74 .339
23. Juan Pierre CHC 71 .335
24. Aaron Miles STL 37 .333
25. Willy Taveras HOU 74 .331
26. Scott Podsednik CHW 82 .330
27. Eric Byrnes ARI 69 .328
28. Coco Crisp BOS 54 .319
29. Randy Winn SF 75 .318
30. Chris Duffy PIT 31 .281

I think its safe to say that Pierre is being overvalued as a leadoff hitter, especially when you look at much cheaper options like Maicer Izturis, David DeJesus and Jamey Carroll. Hell even at a hair over $2 million, Dave Roberts is a bargain compared to Pierre. My point is, there's bound to be a cheaper more reliable option at the leadoff spot for next season than Juan Pierre.

So who would play CF then? No, not Felix Pie. As much as some people are pushing for this, he really should have another year in AAA before coming up to the bigs full-time. What the Cubs need to do is get Vernon Wells to play CF. Wells is currently 27 years old, and would provide the Cubs with a much more dependable bat to protect Derrek Lee. Imagine having the 3-4-5 slots in the order filled with Wells, Lee, and Ramirez (on the assumption that A-Ram doesn't try to leave)? That would be pretty tough to pitch around. And on defense, Wells would be an upgrade over Pierre, bringing his 2 Gold Gloves (2004, 2005) with him. Wells isn't for certain that he wants to stay in Toronto and I'm sure plenty of teams will be throwing offers at him (reports are that Wells could command as much as $15/year). Yeah he'll be expensive, but the Cubs already spend a lot of money (7th largest payroll), so there's really no excuse not to be in the running for his services.

Come on! Lets go out and get Vernon Wells. Him and Zambrano can refine their celebratory "point to the sky" technique.