Friday, April 20, 2012

A.J. Pierzynski Talks About His Contract Situation


I don't think A.J. Pierzynski is a bad baseball player or catcher by any means, but at the same time I've never had as high an opinion of him as a lot of White Sox fans always have. To me it's always felt like the things Pierzynski did in 2005 during the playoffs have made him a cult figure amongst the fan base, and the adoration has continued even though it's seven years later, and Pierzynski is still the same player he's always been.

He's a decent hitter, without a lot of power, who doesn't strike out a lot but also doesn't take many walks either. Defensively he's not as good as he used to be, which is natural given his age, and though he knows how to call a game, he's not very good at blocking pitches and his arm has been terrible throughout his time here.

But then there have been the first two weeks of this season, where he's just crushing the ball and throwing everybody out who even dares to run on him. Though there are still plenty of balls getting past him as well.

Personally, I'm inclined to believe the Pierzynski we've seen over the last seven years is still the real Pierzynski, not the one of the last two weeks. He's also the guy who's contract is up at the end of the season.

And speaking of that contract, Pierzynski talked to the Chicago Sun-Times about the prospect of free agency looming over his head, and how he's approaching it this season compared to two years ago when he got off to a terrible start to his contract season.

“Mentally I’m in a better spot,’’ Pierzynski told the Sun-Times. “Last time [two years ago] I wanted to really come back here — not that I still don’t. We had some conversations about a contract during spring training, and it didn’t go very well and it put me in a bad mind-set going into the season.

“Looking back I wish we hadn’t even talked about it. This year we didn’t talk about it and professionally and personally I’m in a better spot. I’m trying to enjoy the year and not worry about other things.’’

Pierzynski also told the Sun-Times that he wants to be back in Chicago next season, but he also understands why it may not happen.

Then there was Kenny Williams, who while talking about Pierzynski's contract status, made no promises.

“A.J. has been a valuable guy from the day he put on a Sox uniform,’’ said Williams. “I truly feel he is one guy that other players feed off his energy and commitment to win. He knows that our best chance to win is if everyone is focused on that day’s game and nothing else. That is the goal and focus, and matters involving 2013 are tabled in the interest of a distraction-free environment.’’

And Pierzynski's contract should be tabled until after the season, and when the year is over and it is time to talk about a new deal, the Sox should be telling A.J. they appreciate everything he's done in Chicago, but that it's time to move on.

The fact of the matter is, unless Tyler Flowers has a terrible season in 2012, there should be nothing that Pierzynski does to earn a new deal with the White Sox. Even if he continues to crush the ball.

Hell, I hope he does keep killing the ball, so that way if the Sox are in selling mode come July, they might get a nice return on him at the trade deadline as a rental for another team looking to make a playoff push. Of course, the other reason I hope he keeps hitting like this is because it increases the Sox chances of getting to the postseason as well.

But no matter how well he's doing now, or how well he's doing in a few months, this has to be his final season in Chicago. Kenny's rebuilding plan may be on hold for now due to the contracts of guys like Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn, but at no point is signing a 35-year old catcher -- who would be 36 next season, obviously -- to a new contract part of any rebuilding plan.

2 comments:

  1. I could not stand AJ as Twin, but for those same reasons I took to him as soon as the Sox got him. He's a gamer and a pain in the ass to the other team. When you are talented, but not a star that is a great role to play.

    I'm sure there is no way he is brought back next year unless Flowers is awful or has some catastrophic injury. Even if DH or 1B were open at the end of the year AJ can't produce the numbers needed at those positions. Even though he would be an upgrade to what we've gotten from Dunn in his 1+ year here.

    While it would be nice to see the Sox use AJ in a trade to reload the system for the future I'd prefer the Sox are in the post-season race and keep him all year. I don't trust the GM to get the right pieces in trade if they become sellers.

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  2. If Kenny Williams were smart (large if), he would be planning to unload AJ to a contender before the All-Star break and all this early season hitting can only increase his market value. AJ would be a prime acquisition for a team headed into the post-season and the White Sox do not need another big contract on the books. Tyler Flowers is everything a re-building team needs.

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