Last December when Jim Hendry dealt three prospects to Florida for Juan Pierre it was assumed by most that the Cubs would sign the speedy 28 year old centerfielder to a long term deal. In the last week we heard Steve Stone on the Score mention that it looks like Felix Pie will be the Cub centerfielder next year and Juan Pierre is only a "stop gap" until Pie is ready. Here's hoping the Stone Pony is dead wrong on this one. As we know with the Mark Prior situation, Stone is usually right on the money when it comes to the Cubs.
How long will JP wear the blue pinstripes?
So which is it? Is Pierre a stop-gap until Pie is ready or is he a long term fixture on the northside leading off playing centerfield.
Hendry knows how hard it is to find a decent leadoff man. The Cubs in general have been looking for a leadoff hitter since Bobby Dernier. That's not that far from the truth. It's no coincidence that the years the Cubs have success, they have a good leadoff man. In 2003 Kenny Lofton ignited the Cubs offense. If Pierre does a good job leading off for the Cubs this season will they once again turn to an unproven prospect to play CF?
General managers genrally don't send three young arms to a team for a position player that they let walk after one season. When Hendry went after Pierre, he knew what the price was. Now he needs to sit down and lock up Pierre to a two or three year extension. Otherwise we'll end up seeing something similar to this next year.