5. The White Sox trade Jon Link and John Ely for Juan Pierre.
The same affliction that led the White Sox to believe Scott Podsednik was a talent to be leaned upon as often as possible has now led them to trade for Pierre. Pierre would make a perfectly useful fourth outfielder. He is not, however, an adequate major-league regular. Still, the White Sox have penciled him in as their starting left fielder in 2010. Left field, as you know, is a power position, and Pierre, as you know, has no power. That vaguely adequate .757 OPS he posted last season -- his highest such mark since 2001 -- will also likely come down. He's moving into the tougher AL; his season was built around one hot month (May); and his batting average on balls in play, a bit on the high side last season, will probably come back to earth. With it, so will the rest of his numbers.
As for Pierre's speed, it's an asset, but he's not an efficient base-stealer these days. Yes, he pilfers a lot of bases, but he also gets caught too much. In fact, in his nine full seasons he's led the league in times caught stealing on five occasions. In reality, he's something close to a break-even base stealer (you have to be successful at least 75 percent of the time to make stealing bases even slightly worthwhile). Of course, Ozzie Guillen will probably let him run wild. He'll swipe a lot of bases, but he'll be a solidly below-average hitter. Defensively, he doesn't take proper routes in the outfield, which means you can't put him in center on an extended basis.
Sure, the Dodgers will pay $10.5 million of the remaining $18.5 million that Pierre is owed, but if Link and Ely, the two pitching prospects given up by Chicago (both with success in the upper rungs of the system) turn out to be of consequence, then this deal will look even worse.