EDIT: Scott Podsednik has since been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Chicago White Sox made a big mistake this past offseason. Needing a lead-off hitter, Kenny Williams had to decide whether or not to bring back Scott Podsednik.
Williams decided not to cede to Podsednik's request for a multi-year deal. Now, the White Sox are paying Juan Pierre almost double Podsednik's current salary to be a scrub.
Take a look at their numbers up to this point in the season:
Pierre: .256 avg, 0 HR, 21 RBI, .326 OBP, 37 SB, 12 CS
Podsednik: .311 avg, 5 HR, 44 RBI, .354 OBP, 30 SB, 12 CS
The big postive for Pierre, he can steal bases. But Podsednik also can steal bases, while both are caught stealing at a high level.
With Alex Rios and Paul Konerko bringing their consistent bats to the lineup, they need somebody ahead of them that can get on base so they can be driven in.
Besides playing the lead off role, it's nice to have a player that can provide an occasional pop and clutch hit. Pierre has not always been reliable to drive in runs when he has the opportunity. Pierre is batting .257 with runners in scoring position while Podsednik is batting 70 points higher at .327 with runners in scoring position.
Slugging isn't as important for a leadoff hitter, but it's hard to ignore the difference between these two. Pierre is slugging .287 with ten doubles, one triple, and no home runs. Podsednik is slugging .401 with eight doubles, six triples, and five home runs.
Don't forget Podsednik likes to hit at US Cellular field. In 25 at-bats there this year, he's hitting .400 with a 1.063 OPS.
I'm not saying this should be the White Sox's top priority. They're interested in a left-handed power bat (Adam Dunn or Prince Fielder) and they should focus on that. But if they can't get one of those two players, they should improve their lineup at the top.