Tag: AJ Pierzynski

Pierzynski Becomes 1st Catcher Since Pudge to Reach 2,000 Hits

Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski recorded the 2,000th hit of his career during the second inning of Wednesday’s 9-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox, becoming the first catcher to reach the 2,000-hit plateau since Ivan Rodriguez in 2004, per MLB Stat of the Day.

Pierzynski’s milestone hit wasn’t particularly noteworthy, as he merely deposited a one-out bloop single into left field off Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright, allowing Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman to advance from second base to third.

The next batter, Braves outfielder Kelly Johnson, singled Freeman home from third base to cut an early deficit to 2-1.

The Red Sox quickly responded with four runs in the bottom of the second inning, chasing Braves pitcher Bud Norris from the game after only four outs.

Pierzynski has started the season poorly along with the rest of his team, recording just 11 hits (10 singles) in 50 at-bats for an unsightly .220 batting average.

He also has a .291 on-base percentage and .240 slugging percentage for an Atlanta squad carrying an MLB-worst 4-17 record.

Regardless, Pierzynski has enjoyed an impressive career, with his longevity (19 seasons) making up for the reality that he has never quite been a star-caliber player.

Granted, the 39-year-old hasn’t gone completely without recognition, making two appearances in the All-Star Game (2002 and 2006) and earning one Silver Slugger Award (2012).

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A.J. Pierzynski to Re-Sign with Braves: Latest Contract Details and Reaction

A.J. Pierzynski’s first season with the Atlanta Braves was a resurgent one, so it’s no surprise the team acted swiftly to bring the veteran catcher back on a short-term pact. 

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Pierzynski and the Braves have agreed to terms on a one-year deal to keep the backstop in Atlanta. The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman confirmed the report.      

Pierzynski’s in the twilight of his career, but if last season was any indication, he’s got some gas left in the tank for a rebuilding Braves team. During the 2015 campaign, the 38-year-old catcher batted .300 with a .339 on-base percentage and .769 OPS in 113 appearances. 

“It’s fun to play,” Pierzynski said before the All-Star break, per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. “I still like playing. It’s still enjoyable to compete and see what you can do. All of these guys now are young and so full energy, so when you get a little older you have to figure out when to conserve it and when to use it.”

More than anything, Pierzynski’s ability to provide a strong presence in the clubhouse could be of value to the Braves as they get set to develop young talents throughout the 2016 season. 

As Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s Chuck Garfien explained, Pierzynski’s one of the most seasoned players to ever suit up behind the plate: 

It would be unfair to expect Pierzynski to produce at the plate like he did a season ago, but those statistical gains should be secondary at this point.

The catcher will be a tremendous resource for Atlanta’s stable of young pitchers as the Braves get primed to make a leap in 2017, and the wisdom he imparts should help accelerate the rebuild just a bit. 

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A.J. Pierzynski to Braves: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski could have called it a career after 17 MLB seasons, but he will play at least one more year after reportedly signing a contract with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman provided the details of Pierzynski’s new deal:

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported on Friday, Dec. 26, the financial details of the deal:

Bowman had previously reported on the Atlanta Braves’ interest in acquiring the veteran:

With Ross off the table after signing with the Cubs, Pierzynski became the next-best option for the Braves.

Pierzynski, 37, has played for six different clubs—most recently with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014. At this late stage, all Atlanta can expect out of Pierzynski is for him to play a serviceable backup role behind the plate.

Having been voted as the game’s most hated player in a 2012 poll, controversy has surrounded Pierzynski at almost every turn.

Stories have surfaced about his antics, and he addressed the matter in October.

“A whole lot of them have been proven to not be true,” said Pierzynski, per Sporting News’ Erin Faulk. “But fiction’s always better than the truth. Nobody wants to hear the truth. It doesn’t sell newspapers or gets hits online.”

Before the Boston Red Sox designated Pierzynski for assignment last year, a report from WEEI’s Rob Bradford described how his personality did not mesh well at all in the clubhouse. Some Red Sox players even spoke with the front office and coaches about the issue.

That is a risk Atlanta is taking on in acquiring Pierzynski. One positive is that Pierzynski is still a better hitter than most catchers, with a career average of .281 as proof.

Considering he had been a member of four different teams since 2012, it will be interesting to see how Pierzynski will blend in with his new teammates. If he can understand his role and embrace it, this latest transition may go more smoothly.

If the signing doesn’t work out, at least Atlanta hasn’t invested a lot of time or money in Pierzynski, whose potential to be a steal on the open market is enough to justify the short-term commitment.

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A.J. Pierzynski Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation Surrounding Star Catcher

After breaking into the major leagues in 1998, A.J. Pierzynski has been the player many fanbases and even some teammates have loved to hate. Now we’re waiting to see when or if he’ll be able to continue his MLB career.  

According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Atlanta Braves have expressed interest in Pierzynski:

He split time between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals in 2014. Just after the Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason, Pierzynski let it be known that he wanted to continue his career.

Per Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Dispatch, the 17-year veteran, who turns 38 in December, said: 

My kids want me to play and my wife wants me to play. It’s hard to walk away. Whether it is to come in and help a young guy out or come in and play every day. It is a tough opportunity to turn down. All my friends … say keep playing as long as you can. They all regret (it) once they walk away.

There’s usually a strong market for a veteran catcher for teams looking for a positive clubhouse presence. Being a left-handed hitter normally helps, which Pierzynski has covered, but there are some definite concerns about his personality affecting a team’s clubhouse.

Pierzynski signed a one-year, $8.25 million deal with the Boston Red Sox before the 2014 season, but the relationship between the veteran, his teammates and manager John Farrell deteriorated.

Ultimately, the Red Sox placed Pierzynski on waivers and that led to him signing on with the St. Louis Cardinals for the remainder of the season, per Rob Bradford of WEEI.com:

Pierzynski had become such a negative influence on the team that players approached both the Sox coaches and front office to address the problem. The common theme expressed was the catcher’s seeming indifference toward his teammates and the common goals of the same organization that had relied on an all-for-one approach when winning the 2013 World Series.

Between his time in Boston and St. Louis, Pierzynski hit .251 with five homers, 37 RBI and a .288 on-base percentage in 102 games. The two-time All Star is a career .281 hitter with 177 home runs. 

While Pierzynski will be 38 by next season, he still has plenty of experience, including playoffs, to help a team in need at the position.

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A.J. Pierzynski Signs with Cardinals: Latest Reports, Analysis and Reaction

After losing his job with the Boston Red Sox, A.J. Pierzynski is ready to return to the major leagues. The team announced the deal on Saturday:

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported the St. Louis Cardinals were attempting to sign the veteran catcher:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports later confirmed that the move was completed and Pierzynski will join the team immediately:

George Kottaras was claimed by the Cardinals off waivers on July 11 in an attempt to improve the position after All-Star catcher Yadier Molina went down with a thumb injury. However, the journeyman only got five at-bats with the team and will reportedly be released, per Brandie Piper and Frank Cusumano of KSDK.com.

The organization is hoping Pierzynski will be a better replacement after a solid career of production behind the plate. In 17 seasons, the catcher has posted a .282 batting average with 176 home runs.

The 37-year-old player struggled a bit this season, though, posting a career-low .254 batting average with four home runs in 72 games with Boston. He was eventually designated for assignment by the club before being released in mid-July, according to Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington explained the problem to Mastrodonato:

The offense wasn’t there. I’m not trying to be critical of him. It wasn’t any lack of effort on his part. It just wasn’t there. When you sign A.J. Pierzynski, that’s what you’re hoping: You’re hoping for left-hand offense at a premium position, and we thought that was important to the team. If we got that, it would complement the team.

Fortunately, the talent is still there for the veteran to provide an offensive boost to a team that remains in the playoff hunt. Although the Cardinals are a few games back in the NL Central race, they have the players to turn things around in a hurry.

Jason Goch of Yahoo Sports Radio likes the move for the team:

Tony Cruz is likely to continue getting playing time behind the plate, but Pierzynski will provide a nice complement as a quality left-handed hitter.


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Boston Red Sox: Projections for the Starting Lineup in 2014

With a brand new World Series championship banner hanging on Yawkey Way, the Boston Red Sox have some pretty big shoes to fill as we move towards the 2014 MLB season.

This year, fans will be treated to an injection of youth with Xander Bogaerts likely taking over as the everyday shortstop and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia took his talents to South Beach and veteran backstop A.J. Pierzynski has been brought in to fill the void.

To get the closest and most accurate projections possible, the following statistics were compiled and compared, ultimately creating an equation to help determine how each player will perform in 2014.

The stats consist of basic offensive numbers: games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, stolen bases and batting lines.

Generally, to reach a conclusion on each stat, players were evaluated on their performances against every team the Red Sox will face in 2014. Those figures were compared to players’ career numbers, as well as other variables, such as home-versus-away numbers.

These are the results. 

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How the AJ Pierzynski Signing Will Impact Boston Red Sox’s 2014 Title Defense

The 2014 Boston Red Sox will attempt to defend their World Series crown with a new leader behind home plate. According to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, the Red Sox have agreed to a one-year, $8.25 million deal to bring catcher A.J. Pierzynski aboard for the 2014 season.

By acquiring the veteran backstop, Boston is signaling the end of the Jarrod Saltalamacchia era in the Red Sox lineup. While the Boston front office will undoubtedly cite Pierzynski’s leadership skills, durability and home run power, it’s impossible to believe the Red Sox are a better team now than the 97-win outfit that dominated the AL East in 2013.

This deal, assuming Saltalamacchia’s free agency leads him to a two- or three-year deal on the open market, wasn’t about improving in the short term or keeping the status quo for a run at a 2014 World Series. Instead, as Alex Speier of WEEI.com points out, it’s about financial flexibility and keeping the catching seat warm for prospects like Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.

If the objective in Boston were to bring back the best catcher available for 2014, regardless of years or dollars, Saltalamacchia would be donning a Red Sox uniform next season.

In 2013, on the path to leading Major League Baseball in runs scored, Red Sox catchers combined to produce a .787 OPS and 70 extra-base hits. Those figures were good for third and first, respectively, among all major league catching groups, per ESPN.

Most of that production came off the bat of the the switch-hitting Saltalamacchia. After six years of below-average offensive production, the 28-year-old gave Boston a breakout campaign in 2013. Of the 70 extra-base hits to come from Red Sox catching, 54 came off the the bat of Saltalamacchia. Replacing those impact hits will be a difficult task in 2014.

The gap in on-base percentage between the two backstops may be even more of an issue for Boston than the extra-base hits. In 2013, Saltalamacchia posted a .338 OBP, good for sixth among starting catchers, per MLB.com. The ability to generate extra-base hits and walks, buoyed by a 9.1 percent walk rate for Saltalamacchia, helped Boston sit atop the MLB ranks in team on-base percentage.

While Pierzynski has posted a .322 career on-base percentage, including a .360 mark in 2003, the ability to draw walks has never been a major part of his game. In 2013, it became a liability. Due in part to a minuscule 2.1 percent walk rate, Pierzynski’s OBP was a paltry .297 last season. That represented the first season in his career with an on-base percentage under .300.

If we view the Saltalamacchia-for-Pierzynski swap in the landscape of the present, it’s a clear loss for Boston. Yet if we look at what the signing does for Boston’s future, while dissecting the past accolades for the new Red Sox catcher, the swap becomes a bit more palatable.

During the entirety of their respective careers, choosing Pierzynski over Saltalamacchia wouldn’t have been a difficult decision for most general managers in the sport. Due to consistency, longevity, power and leadership, the 36-year-old Pierzynski has been one of the best catchers in baseball for over a decade.

In fact, no catcher comes close to matching the durability of Pierzynski since the 2001 season. Over the last 13 years, the left-handed-hitting catcher has played 1,714 games, leaving every other starting catcher in the dust over that period. The most telling aspect of the names featured behind Pierzynski on that list: Many are retired or are no longer starting catchers.

If Boston wants to delay the big league debuts of their top catching prospects, Pierzynski is the perfect option behind home plate. Barring an unforeseen long-term injury, the combination of Pierzynski and David Ross should give manager John Farrell 150-plus games behind home plate, power at the dish and leadership in the clubhouse.

That, while valuable, isn’t going to help Boston win baseball games in 2014; at the very least, it won’t help them win as many games as they could have with Saltalamacchia in the lineup. Along with the superior offensive numbers, Saltalamacchia’s game produced 2.9 bWAR (Baseball-Reference), compared to 1.6 for Pierzynski.

According to FanGraphs, the gap was even bigger: Saltalamacchia’s 2013 season was worth 3.6 wins above replacement, while Pierzynski’s campaign only added 1.6 wins to the Texas Rangers ledger.

One year after a perfectly executed offseason plan, doubting Ben Cherington and the Red Sox front office shouldn’t be in vogue this winter. If the signing of Pierzynski is presented as an upgrade, eyebrows will be raised. Of course, it’s possible that Boston has information and scouting on Saltalamacchia that will make the difference in 2014 production between the two backstops far less than it was this past season.

Regardless, the Red Sox saved long-term money, gained a durable veteran stopgap behind the plate and didn’t go above and beyond for a player heading into free agency at peak value.

This move doesn’t make the Red Sox better equipped to win a World Series in 2014, but it’s consistent with the organizational approach that made a championship run possible in 2013.

Are the Red Sox a better team with Pierzynski behind the plate?

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Updates on A.J. Pierzynski and Red Sox Agreeing to 1-Year Contract

The Boston Red Sox signed veterans Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Dempster, David Ross, Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew to short-term deals last offseason. 

It appears they are doing the same this year, as the team has reportedly signed veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski

From Jon Heyman of CBS:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed the report:

Alex Speier of WEEI.com later reported Pierzynski and the Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney provided monetary insight:

Later in the night he officially passed his physical per Rosenthal:

Pierzynski, 36, was a solid addition to the Texas Rangers last season, hitting .272 with 17 home runs, 70 RBI and 48 runs scored in 134 games. The season prior, he hit .278 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI with the Chicago White Sox.

That was his career high in home runs, and it tied his career high in RBI. It would seem a bit of pop has returned to Pierzynski’s bat in his later years.

The move likely signals the end for Jarrod Saltalamacchia in Boston. The 28-year-old catcher hit .273 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI in 2013 but is currently a free agent. 

The Red Sox had already missed out on Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz, so making a move in the catcher market was a priority. It’s a bit surprising the team is going from Saltalamacchia to Pierzynski; the two players had similar production in 2013, but Saltalamacchia is eight years younger.

More than likely, Saltalamacchia is commanding more money and years on the market than the Red Sox were willing to match.

According to Heyman, the team “was always hesitant to do a very long deal with a catcher as it is has two very good catching prospects, in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez, who could be ready fairly quickly.”

Thus, Pierzynski made sense. He’s certainly a solid consolation prize.


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2013 MLB Predictions: Seasoned Veterans Who Will Have Major Impact

In Major League Baseball, veterans are always a key component to the success of a team, but there are some elder statesman who will have a major role for their respective clubs in 2013.

Guys like Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees and R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays will each be of vital importance to their respective team’s pitching staffs. Meanwhile, A.J. Pierzynski will have to make an impact on both sides of the ball for the Texas Rangers.

Age is just a number and these players certainly proved that with great statistics during the 2012 season.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these older vets and how they will benefit their teams in 2013.


Andy Pettitte, Starting Pitcher, New York Yankees (Age: 40)

When Pettitte takes the mound in April, he will be starting his 18th Major League season and is a huge piece of the Yanks’ starting rotation in 2013.

Pettitte unexpectedly returned to baseball last season and was rock solid before missing most of the season due to injury. When he was on the mound, Pettitte was 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA that proved he still has what it takes to be a force in the MLB.

On top of that, Pettitte was great for the Bombers in the postseason, giving them three good starters in October baseball.

This season, the 40-year-old will be New York’s No. 3 starter behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda. With the question marks behind him in the Yanks’ starting five, Pettitte must remain at top form during the 2013 season if his team is to have success in the regular and postseason.


A.J. Pierzynski, Catcher, Texas Rangers (Age: 36)

Now that the Rangers have lost slugger Josh Hamilton to free agency, this team has a ton of offense to replace in 2013.

Although Pierzynski won’t do it all by himself, his numbers from 2012 prove he can make a big impact in that regard. The 36-year-old hit 27 homers and drove in 77 runs while sporting a .278 batting average at the plate.

Behind the plate, Pierzynski will be tasked with helping bring the Rangers’ starting staff out of the dumps from a season ago. Texas’ rotation finished with a 4.30 ERA, which was good enough for No. 20 in the league.

So, not only will Pierzynski’s bat be needed in Texas, but he also must call good games and aid in the development of the younger arms in order to improve the Rangers pitching overall.


R.A. Dickey, Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 38)

After winning the National League Cy Young award in 2012 as a member of the New York Mets, Dickey was shipped off to Toronto and is one of many new additions to the roster.

Dickey’s 2012 campaign was well worth the honor. The 38-year-old was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and that was with a lackluster roster supporting him in New York.

In 2013, Dickey will have a much better team around him with a great pitching staff and a dangerous lineup as well. That should help Dickey come close to his numbers from last season as extra run support should lead to plenty of games won.

The only thing that’s in doubt is if his success in the National League East will translate to the offensively potent American League East. Dickey will be facing much stiffer competition and the Blue Jays will need him to answer the bell if they hope to reign supreme in one of the most competitive divisions in the majors.

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MLB Free Agency 2013: Yankees Negotiating to Sign A.J. Pierzynski as New Catcher

We all wondered what the Yankees would do to fill the void at their catcher spot.

New York’s catcher of the last two seasons, Russell Martin, signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates this past Friday.

Former Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli, another name that was linked to the Yankees, signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Boston Red Sox this week.

That leaves one more big name on the free-agent market, and according to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the Yankees are currently negotiating with former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (via Twitter):



The 35-year-old catcher has spent the last eight years in Chicago and was a fan favorite because of his gritty play and hard-nosed approach to the game.

In 2012, Pierzynski hit .277 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI in 135 games for the White Sox.

Getting Pierzynski would be an upgrade on offense over Martin and personally I think this is the kind of player the Yankees really need.

Like I said before, Pierzynski is as tough and hard-nosed of a baseball player as they come. The Yankees need to inject a little toughness that Jorge Posada once possessed when he was the team’s backstop and vocal leader.

Pierzynski had a career year on offense and he might be able to continue that trend while hitting in Yankee Stadium. Defensively, he’s is still a very good defensive catcher who is also very durable.

I think this would be a great signing if Yankees GM Brian Cashman lands him during the baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, and I know a lot of people on here have been pushing for the Yankees to do so.

We’ll all wait to see what turns out from this, but some of you might get your wish as far as which catcher you wanted in pinstripes.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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