Thursday, December 5, 2013

Twins can't catch a veteran backstop

A.J. Pierzynski has caught
at least 1,000 innings in each
of the last 12 seasons, an
impressive feat.
It became obvious Tuesday that, while the Twins may have gotten the deals they wanted in the starting pitching field of free agency, they were missing out on the catchers.

A.J. Pierzynski, whose proposed return was welcomed by the sentimentalists in Twins Territory, opted instead to sign with the Boston Red Sox.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Red Sox' No. 1 catcher last year and another reputed Minnesota target, moved on to his hometown (more or less) Miami Marlins on a three-year deal.

Which left Twins general manager Terry Ryan, during the Tuesday Ricky Nolasco presser, gamely declaring that the Twins are willing to go with Josmil Pinto as the No. 1 catcher.

Willing, perhaps, but not quite eager. This isn't the Twins after the 2003 season trading away Pierzynski to make room for Mauer. They wanted an established catcher to buy time to further marinate Pinto in the intricacies of catching.

But I infer from the apparent insistence on a short-term deal that the Twins believe Pinto can indeed become a capable defensive catcher. They don't want to block Pinto.

It's still early in the offseason. The Twins might still land another receiver. But I doubt they're eager to invest in the likes of John Buck, J.P. Arencibia or Kurt Suzuki. And I'm not particularly eager to see them in Twins uniforms.

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