The Miami Marlins are bringing back a familar face in Juan Pierre, who the team signed this evening. He'll make $1.6 million on the one year deal. Pierre will likely be the starting left fielder for the Marlins, with 2012 breakout player Justin Ruggiano in center and superstar Giancarlo Stanton in right field. The team primarily used Logan Morrison and Bryan Petersen in left in 2012 before shifting Morrison to first base because of disappointing defense and knee problems, while Petersen struggled with a .529 OPS in 84 games.
Pierre was a member of the Marlins World Championship team in 2003, and contributed 11.2 fWAR in his three seasons with the team. The then-Florida Marlins traded him in December of 2005 to the Cubs for a package of players highlighted by current Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco. He spent last season with the Philadelphia Phillies after being signed to a minor league contract at the end of January. He was the team's starting left fielder in the second half of last season, contributing a .722 OPS and 1.7 fWAR in 130 games. That OPS was Pierre's highest since 2009 with the Dodgers. He also still showed great speed on the basepaths, stealing 37 bases at an 85% success rate. Only the departed Jose Reyes stole more bases on the 2012 Marlins, and Pierre had nearly 300 fewer plate appearances than Reyes.
I don't know what to make of this until the terms leak out. At age 35, Pierre absolutely isn't a long-term solution for the Marlins, but he could be a serviceable stopgap for a year, provided that his stats don't plummet back down to their 2011 level with the White Sox, when Pierre was an absolute drain on Chicago's lineup. The Marlins know what they're getting out of Pierre, and considering there are teams paying more than $1.6 million for bench players, I can't go too crazy about it. Miami clearly isn't going to contend next season, and prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick aren't going to be ready for the majors for at least another season, so why not pick up a cheap alternative for a year like Pierre?