Source: Red Sox have shown some interest in A.J. Pierzynski
|11.10.13 at 12:14 am ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have shown some interest in free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
The backstop — who will turn 37 years-old Dec. 30 — played on a one-year, $7.5 million contract with the Rangers in 2013.
Pierzynski totaled 134 games in ’13, hitting .272 with a .722 OPS and 17 home runs. The left-handed hitter actually hit 10 points higher against lefty pitching than right-handers (.279-.269).
Pierzynski’s strength continues to be his bat, although he doesn’t display the kind of patience the Red Sox usually look for. (He walked just three times in the season’s second half.) He is considered a fierce competitor — a trait that has sometimes drawn ire from opponents. The Orlando native has also been singled out for his above-average game awareness.
The 16-year veteran’s defensive skills have diminished, with his ability to frame pitches particularly coming into question last season. But Pierzynski is still considered durable, catching 119 games or more in each of the past 12 seasons.
The Red Sox are exploring multiple options in trying to complement David Ross. Free agent Brian McCann would be a good fit, but with the 29-year-old drawing attention from multiple big market teams the price (and years) may end up being too much for the Sox. Any team signing McCann would also have to surrender a draft pick, with Atlanta having offered the catcher a qualifying offer.
Jarrod Saltalmacchia continues to be an option, although he also is expected to draw significant interest from other teams. Signing the switch-hitter wouldn’t require giving up a draft pick. Carlos Ruiz also figures to be in the mix, although unlike the aforementioned catchers he does not hit from the left side.
Switch-hitting Dioner Navarro is also available, having come off a fairly strong season as a backup with the Cubs. The 29-year-old hit .300 with a .856 OPS in 89 games.
Internally, Ryan Lavarnway remains in the mix, with prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart still seemingly needing more minor-league seasonsing.
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