With the loss of All-Star catcher Yadier Molina to injury, the St. Louis Cardinals were rumored to have been looking into acquiring Kurt Suzuki, one of the only experienced catchers out there on the market.
Everyone had all but forgotten that the A.J. Pierzynski had been designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox and was basically sitting at home an unemployed free agent without many prospective jobs in his forseeable future.
In his 17-year career Pierzynski has had quite a bit of success offensively and he’s worked with many top pitchers throughout his career, mainly with the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. When the Red Sox let him go however, he was batting just .254 which is well below his career .282 average. And there is always the fact that – to put it delicately – he’s, well, known to be a problem in the clubhouse and on the field. It appeared as though home was right where Pierzynski would stay.
“How’s that couch treating ya bro?” is something I think a lot of fans and players would have said to him in jest.
I say would have said because apparently the St. Louis Cardinals hadn’t forgotten about the 37-year old free agent catcher and it seems that they figure they can handle him for half a season. How hard can that be, right?
In Molina’s absence the Cardinals have been using Tony Cruz and George Kottaras behind the plate. Molina was hitting .287 when he ruptured a ligament in his thumb and he is consider one of, if not the, best defensive catchers in the game. Cruz is batting .220 and Kottaras had been claimed on waivers from the Indians.
So without much to work with, Pierzynski, a guy with experience who has hit for .300 for the majority of his career, looks great in comparison. It didn’t matter how difficult he has been known to be, no matter how disliked he is among the fans, players and umpires around the league. It’s also easy to overlook the fact that he was hitting just .254 when your other choice is hitting .220.
So, the Cardinals decided to go with Pierzynski instead of trying to trade for someone, who like Suzuki may be, younger and more agreeable but who wouldn’t be an offensive upgrade to a .254 hitting Pierzynski. It was announced by a number of sources that the team and the veteran catcher came to an agreement late Friday night and according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Pierzynski will be available to play Saturday when the Cardinals take on the Chicago Cubs. In fact he is already in the city.
Pierzynski joining #STLCards tomorrow. Already in Chicago.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2014
For an organization that usually prides itself on being drama free, it will be more than interesting to see how this plays out. But with a former catcher in Mike Matheney running the show and Molina still a presence in the clubhouse there’s the off-chance that this partnership could work out, at least briefly enough to get the Cards through the rest of the season and into the playoffs. All I have to say is “good luck with that,” but I’ve been proven wrong before, more than once, so ya never know.