Monday, April 26, 2010

Ex-Twin watch: A.J. Pierzynski

This always figured to be a crossroads season for A.J. Pierzynski. He's in the final year of his contract with the White Sox; he's 33, an age at which everyday catchers tend to crumble; the White Sox have at least one catching prospect (Tyler Flowers) marinating in the high minors.

The second point appears to be really strong right now. He's hitting .140 on the still-young season and adding to the deforestation of America with his broken bats.

Obviously, he's got to turn it around at the plate if he's going to remain a lineup fixture, on the South Side or anywhere else. Nobody's good enough defensively to carry a .140 stick.

Defense has never been Pierzynski's strong suit anyway. He's better than acceptable, but never a Gold Glove candidate. What he brings to the table are his competitiveness and his durability. He catches 130 games a year, he never goes on the DL, he grinds out at-bats, innings and seasons.

Looking at his immediate future ... he gets his 10-and-5 no trade rights (10 years of service time, last five with one team) in June, so if the White Sox want to flip him before his free agency, they are likely to act sooner rather than later. The Red Sox, as referenced late in the Monday print column, are having catching problems and might be a possibility.

Looking down the road ... I suspect that this will be his last season as a regular, even if he starts hitting closer to his career norms. Again: He's caught a lot of games over the years, and this takes a toll.

And I also suspect that he's not the type teams look to as a reserve catcher. He's more a hitter than a catch-and-throw guy, and the persona isn't exactly out of the clubhouse chemistry textbook. The "clubhouse cancer" rap from his season in San Francisco hasn't entirely washed away, not with Ozzie Guillen's witticisms ("If he's on the other team, you hate him; if he's on your team, you hate him a little less") echoing.

Nevertheless, there's a part of me that would like to see Pierzynski go out with the Twins, as Joe Mauer's backup. It's not likely to happen — besides the critique offered in the previous paragraph, the Twins have other options — but he did a good job for Minnesota early in his career, he brought a very nice return when the Twins traded him, and I think he deserves to hear cheers once more in Minnesota.


Poll results: Not a lot of action on this one. Twenty-five votes on whether anyone will hit a fair ball completely out of Target Field. Ten said yes, 15 said no.

Me, I think somebody will drive one down the RF line and out the Puckett gate. Justin Morneau, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel — somebody's gonna do it this summer.

New poll up.

1 comment:

  1. "...somebody will drive one down the RF line and out the Puckett gate."

    Bouncing or on-the-fly?