For Juan Pierre to work, the stars need to be algined just right. Otherwise, he's a succubus of the worst kind, a banjo hitter and below average defender impeding the possible growth of power hitters with upside.
Talk radio painted the Phillies' offense as a hellscape of dysfunction during the mid 2000s because of all those nasty strikeouts and dependence on the long ball. Never mind the Phils were atop the league lead in most impact categories. There were simply too many strikeouts in the lineup, they groaned. Well, if those were dysfunctional lineups - lineups that could light it up at any moment - then what do you call the ridiculous fiasco of scoring one run or less in a quarter of the schedule?
Now that's dysfunction. An offense anchored by Carlos Ruiz batting cleanup. Dysfunction. Where Cliff Lee and his 12 strikeouts and 92 strikes thrown can count on a single run of support. Dysfunction.
Which brings us to Juan Pierre, who raised his hand and took responsibility for Tuesday's loss. A nice gesture, for sure. But it's the "concept" of Juan Pierre that bothers me most. Statistically, he's having a nice season by Juan Pierre standards and has likely bought himself a starting job in Charlie Manuel's lineup for rest of the season. Which is exactly how the cookie crumbled for the Chicago White Sox. Because at the end of the day - when the bloops and bleeders stop finding the holes - the Phils will be left with 650 plate appearances, a .650-.675 OPS and a sense of regret they didn't allow John Mayberry Jr. to build off his stellar second half of 2011.
There was thought that Mayberry would become the next Jayson Werth. It's a tough act to follow, for sure. But then the Phillies went and complicated matters by making him their fourth first baseman. And what a stupid experiment that turned out to be. He's hitting .195/.233/.244 as a first baseman.
Let's talk about Domonic Brown, too. I agree with one reader's take on Brown: "Patience with Dom Brown. He's hitting the ball better now, but rushing him back up b/c of a couple of weeks of nice hitting isn't the smartest thing. Let him keep hitting, and build confidence."