|Hot Stove: A.J. Pierzynski set to leave White Sox for Rangers||12.21.12 at 9:22 am ET|
Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski reportedly has a one-year deal with the Rangers, pending a physical. Pierzynski, who turns 36 on Dec. 30, hit .278/.326/.501 with 27 home runs and 77 RBIs in 135 games last season.
Pierzynski would seem to be a replacement for Mike Napoli, whose deal with the Red Sox has yet to be announced.
In 15 big league seasons with the Twins (1998-2003), Giants (2004) and White Sox (2005-12), Pierzynski has hit .284/.324/.429 with 155 home runs and 730 RBIs. He’s a two-time All-Star (2002, ’06) and he won a Silver Slugger in 2012.
|Hot Stove: How Mike Napoli impacts Red Sox catching market||12.03.12 at 4:09 pm ET|
Mike Napoli was signed to serve primarily as a first baseman. Still, his addition impacts the Red Sox at catcher, both from the standpoint of in-game management and the trade market.
First, the in-game management: With Napoli, the Sox are likely to have three players on their roster who can catch — Napoli, David Ross (signed earlier in the offseason to a two-year, $6.2 million deal) and either Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway. That, in turn, means that the Sox can make more aggressive strategic moves during games with regards to either pinch-hitting or pinch-running for their catchers, since they won’t be leaving themselves in a position of being short on the roster (particularly if the Sox have a versatile player on the bench — someone capable of playing both infield corners or first base and the outfield) by replacing their starting catcher on a given day.
Meanwhile, Napoli also added to the Sox’ intriguing effort to corner the offseason catching market. With Ross and now Napoli, the team has taken two of the best available catching options off the board. Russell Martin has now signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pirates. There are going to be teams who lose the free agent game of musical chairs.
The Mariners (who wanted to sign Napoli as a catcher), Mets, Yankees, White Sox and Dodgers, according to major league sources, are expected to be in the market for catchers. With Napoli and Ross now added to a roster that already featured Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway (as well as minor leaguers Dan Butler and Christian Vazquez on the 40-man), the Sox are positioned like virtually no other team to strike deals involving catching. Read the rest of this entry »
|Sunday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Josh Beckett vs. Gavin Floyd||04.29.12 at 7:24 am ET|
With their fortunes seemingly on the mend after a slow start, the Red Sox will look to continue their recent winning ways as they continue their Midwest road trip with the final game of a four-game series against the White Sox. The game will pit two of the teams’ best pitchers against each other as Josh Beckett takes to the mound for the Red Sox and Gavin Floyd will go for the White Sox.
Entering the season with some injury concerns, most notably to his right thumb, Beckett has made four starts this season and has been largely impressive. Beckett began the season with a miserable outing against the Tigers in which he gave up seven earned runs and five home runs in just 4 2/3 innings pitched.
Since then, however, Beckett has gone six innings or more and has not given up more than three earned runs in each of his three other starts, with his most masterful performance of the season coming in a 12-2 win over the Rays on April 13 in which he gave up just one earned run in eight innings. For the season, he is 2-2 with a 4.56 ERA, 16 strikeouts and six walks.
Beckett did not make an appearance against the White Sox in 2011, but he did have two starts against them in 2010. In those games, one of which was at home and the other on the road, Beckett was strong with a 3.65 ERA in 12 1/3 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts and six walks, though he was actually 0-1 in those appearances despite his solid showings. In the one game he pitched at U.S. Cellular Field, the site of Sunday’s game, Beckett struggled, pitching six innings and giving up four earned runs.
Beckett does have some level of experience against the White Sox, having previously faced 11 current players on the White Sox team. Among those 11 players, Beckett has faced four batters more than 10 times. Of those players with double-digit plate appearances, A.J. Pierzynski has had the most success against Beckett with a .333 batting average and eight hits in 26 career plate appearances.
The right-handed Floyd, now in his ninth MLB season, has been an anchor for the White Sox rotation for the past several seasons. Through four starts in 2012, Floyd has continued to be a reliable starter for the White Sox, with a 3.60 ERA and 22 strikeouts despite just a 1-3 record. Among White Sox starters, Floyd has the third-best ERA, as well as the third-most strikeouts and innings pitched.
Floyd faced the Red Sox twice in 2011, with both starts resulting in wins. Not only did Floyd win those games, but he was very impressive doing so, pitching 13 2/3 innings. One of those starts was at U.S. Cellular Field, a game in which Floyd pitched seven innings, giving up only one earned run and striking out six Red Sox batters.
For all of the experience that Beckett has facing the White Sox lineup, Floyd has that much more familiarity with facing the Red Sox. Though they have faced the same number of opposing batters in the past (11), Floyd has gone against eight of those 11 players 10 or more times (as opposed to Beckett’s four). Those 11 Red Sox hitters have largely struggled against Floyd, with a collective 2.09 batting average, but of the players with double-digit plate appearances, David Ortiz has had the most success, with a .318 batting average in 23 plate appearances, with seven hits, three of which were home runs.
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