After breaking into the major leagues in 1998, A.J. Pierzynski has been the player many fanbases and even some teammates have loved to hate. Now we’re waiting to see when or if he’ll be able to continue his MLB career.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Atlanta Braves have expressed interest in Pierzynski:
He split time between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals in 2014. Just after the Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason, Pierzynski let it be known that he wanted to continue his career.
Per Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Dispatch, the 17-year veteran, who turns 38 in December, said:
My kids want me to play and my wife wants me to play. It’s hard to walk away. Whether it is to come in and help a young guy out or come in and play every day. It is a tough opportunity to turn down. All my friends … say keep playing as long as you can. They all regret (it) once they walk away.
There’s usually a strong market for a veteran catcher for teams looking for a positive clubhouse presence. Being a left-handed hitter normally helps, which Pierzynski has covered, but there are some definite concerns about his personality affecting a team’s clubhouse.
Pierzynski signed a one-year, $8.25 million deal with the Boston Red Sox before the 2014 season, but the relationship between the veteran, his teammates and manager John Farrell deteriorated.
Ultimately, the Red Sox placed Pierzynski on waivers and that led to him signing on with the St. Louis Cardinals for the remainder of the season, per Rob Bradford of WEEI.com:
Pierzynski had become such a negative influence on the team that players approached both the Sox coaches and front office to address the problem. The common theme expressed was the catcher’s seeming indifference toward his teammates and the common goals of the same organization that had relied on an all-for-one approach when winning the 2013 World Series.
Between his time in Boston and St. Louis, Pierzynski hit .251 with five homers, 37 RBI and a .288 on-base percentage in 102 games. The two-time All Star is a career .281 hitter with 177 home runs.
While Pierzynski will be 38 by next season, he still has plenty of experience, including playoffs, to help a team in need at the position.
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