The Boston Red Sox signed veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year, $8.25 million deal today, adding another strong personality to a clubhouse that doesn’t particular need it, and completely disregarding anything I said in this article.
Combine this with the fact that Jarrod Saltalamacchia just signed an economically friendly three-year, $21.5 million deal with the hapless Miami Marlins (poor guy), and you have a disaster of a signing.
There are a few things that make sense about this signing, don’t get me wrong. Pierzynski enjoyed the best statistical seasons of his 16-year career–crushing 44 home runs (not exactly a big part of his game in years past), driving in 147, and hitting a respectable .275–over his last two seasons with the White Sox and Rangers. Signing a still productive soon-to-be 37-year-old catcher to a one year deal isn’t the most ridiculous move with catching prospect Blake Swihart waiting in the wings. I get the appeal.
But why did it have to be A.J. Pierzynski? Especially when Salty is eight years younger, knows the pitching staff through and through, and is just as productive?
The worst part about A.J. Pierzynski though? He’s a “me” guy that has a Bobby Valentine kind of stink all over him. He’s all show. Pierzynski is the kind of guy the Red Sox spent the entire off-season last year trying to get rid of. He’s anti-chemistry. I don’t know if they’ve done an Sports Illustrated player’s poll on the least liked player in MLB lately, but I’d be willing to bet anything Pierzynski is top five.
Pierzynski doesn’t exactly fit the Red Sox “see a lot of pitches and get on base mentality either.” A.J. free swinging attitude has worked for him in years past, but there’s still a lot to be desired from a guy with a .322 career on-base percentage, and the Red Sox already have a guy like that in their lineup named Will Middlebrooks, except he has some room to grow at least. Pierzynski is what he is at this point.
What’s more likely to happen?
Pierzysnki hit .280, hits 18 home runs, drives in 75, and keeps his mouth shut.
Pierzynski falls off a cliff in 2014, hits .225, and pisses everyone in the Red Sox clubhouse off.
I think it’s a coin flip. And that’s bad news for a team that just won a world series largely due to their team chemistry.