Former Marlin Juan Pierre announced his retirement from baseball over the weekend. After not receiving any Spring Training invites for the second consecutive year, Pierre decided to finally call it quits at age 36.
Pierre hangs up the cleats while finishing with 2,217 hits, 614 stolen bases, and a .295 batting average in his 14-year career. Pierre's speed made him such an enjoyable player to watch, and his 614 stolen bases place him 18th on the all-time list.
Although Juan Pierre is finished as a player, he may not ready to leave the game of baseball just yet. Pierre made a guest appearance at the Marlins Spring Training site in Jupiter on Monday and told reporters that, after he takes a couple of years off, he might have some interest in joining the Marlins organization in some form of capacity.
Pierre referred to the Marlins as "family", and that Miami would be the organization he would have interest in joining. Mike Redmond, who has both played with and managed Pierre, told MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that he would 'love' for Pierre to join the Marlins organization in the future. Michael Hill had this to say about Pierre, courtesy of FoxSports.com's Christina De Nicola:
"It's just great to have him around," Hill said. "He's not ready to take on any role with the organization, but just in this game and in my capacity you want good people around you and you want quality people, hard workers. And that's what JP embodies. He personifies that. He was a pro on and off the field, tremendous work ethic, tremendous energy, passion for the game. Whenever he is ready I'm hopeful that'll translate into some capacity in the front office -- in our front office, the Marlins front office."
Pierre was an integral part of the club's 2003 World Series Championship team as the leadoff hitter. That season he hit .305, with a .361 on-base percentage, and stole a career-high 65 bases. In the 17 postseason games that year, Pierre posted a .301 batting average, a .378 on-base percentage, and scored 12 runs.
The Marlins have brought on a few notable former players into their organization in past years. Mr. Marlin, Jeff Conine, and Andre Dawson both serve as "Special Assistants to the President". I am not sure what exactly goes along with that job title, but both are seen on the team's broadcasts sometimes along with being on the field interacting with players. Former Manager Jack McKeon serves as a "Special Assistant to the Owner" and current Manager, Mike Redmond, is a former Marlin as well. Although he was not involved directly within the organization, former Marlin, Cliff Floyd, was a member of the Fox Sports Florida pre-game broadcast for a couple of years as well, before recently taking a job with SNY.
So the Marlins will open their arms to Pierre, but it is up to him on whether he wants to join the organization and what kind of role he would want to have. The level of commitment that Pierre is up for will determine whether he takes a role in broadcasting, as a special advisor/assistant, or even as a coach.
No matter what role Pierre takes if he decides to join the Marlins, he will benefit the organization. He is the kind of guy you want around your organization and team because of his hard work ethic, of which he was always lauded for, and the respect that current players have for him.
Juan Pierre may not go down as one of the greatest Marlins off all time, but he has certainly left his mark on the franchise as an integral piece of the club's second ever World Series Championship. Hopefully we see JP back with the Marlins in some fashion in the near-future.