The end for A.J. Pierzynski?
The Boston Red Sox have designated 37-year-old catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment. They have to decide whether to trade him or release him within 10 days. The Red Sox signed Pierzynski to a one-year $8.25 million contract.
Pierzynski was only hitting .254, but that really isn’t much of a difference from the other Red Sox. David Ortiz is hitting .259 and despite 19 home runs has a .486 slugging percentage. Even Dustin Pedroia at .282 is low for him. The Red Sox are second to last in the American League in team batting average, and last in runs scored.
According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox want to develop Christian Vazquez. Another reason is the Red Sox’ pitchers apparently didn’t warm up to Pierzynski’s catching style.
Pierzynski won’t be in the Hall of Fame, but he truly is one of the better catchers of his generation. Pierzynski will never be confused with Mike Piazza, but at the most grueling position on the field Pierzynski has a .282 career batting average – 16th best all-time among catchers. He also ranks third among active catchers behind Joe Mauer (no longer a catcher) and Yadier Molina.
Pierzynski is also an iron man. Pierzynski has played 17 seasons and finished in the top five in games caught eight times and is 15th all-time. As a career, Pierzynski compares favorably to another iron man Benito Santiago.
Pierzynski has performed well in the postseason for the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox. In 30 postseason games, Pierzynski has a .300 batting average and five home runs. He hit three home runs in the 2005 postseason to help the White Sox win the 2005 World Series.
Pierzynski has a fiery personality and it shows in his passion for the game. He won’t go away quietly, but after 17 seasons and 1,754 games behind the dish, he might be leaking a little oil.