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Cubs Land Pierre

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 7, 2005 6:01PM

The Cubs lost out on the Rafael Furcal sweepstakes last week, as the speedy former Braves shortstop accepted a shorter term deal from the Dodgers. Today, they finally landed a true leadoff hitter.

2005_12_sports_juan_pierre.jpgESPN is reporting that the Cubs and Marlins have reached an agreement that will send center fielder
Juan Pierre to the Cubs in return for three pitchers -- Sergio Mitre, Renyel Pinto and Ricky Nolasco.

Mitre has spent part of the past three seasons with the Cubs, appearing in 36 games (18 starts) while compiling a 6.12 ERA. Pinto and Nolasco are both minor league prospects.

Juan Pierre hit .276 last year while stealing 57 bases. He will certainly be a huge upgrade in the leadoff slot from Corey Patterson. And he'll come a lot cheaper than Furcal would have. Having earned $3.7 million last season, he's eligible for salary arbitration but will most likely be awarded about half what the Cubs offered Furcal.

With Pierre filling Patterson's roles leading off the batting order and in center field, what will become of him? Will the Cubs look to move Patterson or slide him over to right field and drop him in the batting order? They don't plan to re-sign Jeromy Burnitz so that might be an option.

Jim Hendry has been raked over the coals of late for his lack of significant moves (signing two over-priced relief pitchers), but he's finally made a good move. Will it be enough that the Cubs end up where the White Sox did last season? Probably not, but it might be enough that he and Dusty aren't on their farewell tour in '06.

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