Former Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski signs with Cardinals


Jul 5, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (40) before game one against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The first major transaction of the Red Sox’ season is finally completed as the Cardinals have scooped up A.J. Pierzynski, whom the Red Sox had designated for assignment a few weeks ago.

With the Red Sox in need of a catcher this offseason, Pierzynski represented a low-cost, temporary option that could hold his own with the bat and not embarrass the team with the glove. At the time, that seemed quite attractive as the Red Sox were in need of a catcher for the 2014 season but, with two top prospects on the horizon, did not want to commit longterm. However, while Pierzynski was low-cost and temporary, signing a 1 year/$8.25M contract, he did not uphold his end of the bargain, as he did not hold his own with the bat and he was quite embarrassing behind the plate.

Pierzynski continued his career-long trend of rarely walking; unfortunately, that coincided this season with the degradation of both his power and his ability to make solid contact. In 72 games with the Red Sox, Pierzynski slashed just .254/.286/.348 as he posted his lowest isolated power mark of any qualified season at .094, leading to the lowest wOBA (.278) and wRC+ (70) of his career.

And that’s without even mentioning his clubhouse presence, which was reported to have been an overwhelmingly negative influence on the team.

All things considered, the Red Sox seemed to have removed a weight from their shoulders the day that they designated Pierzynski for assignment and recalled Christian Vazquez. However, there will always be desperate teams and the Cardinals currently fill that role with the injury to Yadier Molina. In St. Louis, Pierzynski will likely take over as the starting catcher for the Cardinals as Tony Cruz (.220/.297/.268) has simply been terrible filling in for Molina.

On a personal level, I wish Pierzysnki future success in all of his exploits, so long as they remain far from Boston.