A.J. Pierzynski will be Boston's starting catcher in 2014. Credit: Getty Images
The Red Sox got older Tuesday at a position that begs for vernal legs. But Ben Cherington and crew just won a World Series with something that resembled a “catcher-by-committee” approach towards the end, and they’re now betting that 36-year-old A.J. Pierzynski will have at least the same type of production and durability as 28-year-old Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
What had to be most appealing to the Sox brass was that they were able to ink Pierzynski to a one-year deal (worth $8.25 million), keeping up with their short-contract trend. Saltalamacchia is still looking for a deal around three years.
David Ross, also 36, is also signed through 2014 and should get plenty of time behind the plate filling in for Pierzynski.
Saltalamacchia had a brutal postseason after the best regular season of his career. After hitting .273 with 14 home runs and a .338 OBP during the summer, “Salty” fell on hard times at the plate in October. In 32 postseason at-bats, he hit just .188, drove in only five RBIs and did not register a home run. He also had his fair share of issues in the field, including the wild throw to third, which led to the famed “obstruction” call and a Game 3 Red Sox loss in the World Series.
Pierzynski has proven to be quite durable in his 15-year career, playing in 114 games-plus each season since 2001. He had a career-year, power-wise, in 2012 when he clocked 27 homers and drove in 77 runs. But his numbers do fly in the face of what Boston’s OBP-loving front office has historically coveted. Pierzynski walked just 11 times last season, had just a .297 OBP and saw just 3.27 pitches per plate appearance, which was worst in MLB.
Limelight lover - Pierzynski, who served as a FOX Sports analyst during the World Series, spoke glowingly of the Red Sox, particularly David Ortiz prior to Game 2. - Pierzynski was an AL All-Star in both 2002 and 2006. He won a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005. - Pierzysnki has made several appearances in the pro wrestling world, serving as a manager in TNA Wrestling and during a skit on WWE’s Monday Night Raw.