Yanks miss out on Pierzynski

Where was the Yankees offer?

Where was the Yankees offer?

It has been reported that the Texas Rangers have agreed to terms with Free Agent Catcher A.J. Pierzynski.  The Yankees were said to have looked into the 35-yr old as an option to replace Russell Martin but ultimately backed off because he supposedley wasn’t strong enough defensively.  To me, I thought AJ would be an excellent match for the Yankees but I thought he was out of the picture because he would receive a 2-yr deal from someone.  I wanted to see the Yanks offer a Kevin Youkilis type deal – high money for just 1 yr for AJ.  In fact I thought they should have offered the same $12M deal to AJ that Youk signed for.  Well, I was crushed to see that Pierzynski signed with Texas for a mere $7.5 Million for 1 year. Where was the Yankee offer?

Based on the wreckage that is the current state of Yankees catching and the club’s ridiculous insistence on 1-yr contracts – there really couldn’t have been a better match.   I don’t expect AJ to hit 27 HRs and win a Silver Slugger again like he did in 2012, but he seemed to be a good fit and would have improved the team immensely over the Catchers they have now.  AJ is a high average , contact hitter who is one of the toughest to strike out in the league.  He crushes RHP which would be ideal to match with any of the Yankees RH hitting backups in Stewart, Cervelli or Romine.  AJ feasted on RHP in 2012, hitting .287/.338/.536/.874 with 24 HRs in 399 PAs.  It would have been ideal to have him start the roughly 110 games this year vs RHP and one of the RH backups to start vs LHP.

Pierzynski is an all-out player with a fiery personality who gets under the skin of opponents.  He’s one of the more disliked players in MLB but he’s known to be a good teammate and leader.  His demeanor and effort would be a welcome addition to the team.  Apparently, the Yankees had concerns that he was only an “average” defensive catcher. This is rather laughable considering the Catchers currently on the team.   At this point in their careers AJ is better defensively then Cervelli and Romine.  And while Stewart is a solid defender he is like having a Pitcher in the batting order.  Pairing AJ with Romine may have been a good move so the young catcher could learn on the job from a seasoned veteran the way a young Posada learned from the veteran starter Girardi.

Looking at the state of catching in MLB, Pierzynski was an excellent option and a no-brainer at the contract he got.  Although its been just 114 PAs over the last decade, he’s shown that he won’t wilt in the post-season with a .300 BA, 5 HRs and a  .892 OPS.  AJ’s LH power also could have made it easier to trade Curtis Granderson for young talent without inhibiting their offense in 2013.  There seems to be a multitude of good reasons to have signed Pierzynski to be the Yankees catcher in 2013 yet they had very little interest.  I have been perplexed with a number of the team’s decisions this Winter (and the last 2-3 Winters actually) but I totally don’t understand this one.  Currently, it looks like the Yanks have perhaps the worst starting Catcher in the A.L. which doesn’t add up with their apparent strategy.  All of their moves this offseason make it seem that they are going with a lot of veterans to take one last shot while guys like Pettitte, Mariano and Jeter are still around.  They have made no effort to get younger or to make any significant additions for the team’s future beyond 2013. Pierzynski was the perfect fit to go after it in 2013 without adding any further commitment/burden to the 2014 payroll.  I want to believe the team has a plan but with each subsequent move and non-move it makes it harder to understand it.

About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on December 21, 2012, in Hot Stove, Personal Opinion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

    • Matt he was supposed to be ready last year before he got injured. It isn’t like he’s a “kid” and other teams do this with young players all the time and we should too.
      We keep our players in the minor leagues for an absurd amount of time and I believe this dulls them and when they are ready, they should play if they are the best option.
      With Sanchez soon to follow, it makes no sense to me to go out and sign a free agent catcher or trade for one.

  1. Totally agree Fish AJ would have been a great signing. Adding him and Youk would have brought some toughness and attitude to the team that we have not seen in awhile. Obviously he would be much more productive than any of the catchers that we have. Romine is supposed to be good defensively but you never know how a young guy will handle a veteran staff.

  2. I’m just as confused as you are Fish. A.J. would have been a solid signing, and I think the brunt of our frustration is that Ichiro got a two-year deal, yet the Yankees couldn’t give one to Martin, and then they handed a $12 million contract to a guy who played horrible last year in Kevin Youkilis. The Yankees have made incredibly questionable moves, and the biggest one they have made to me is the one they didn’t by not signing Pierzynski.

    You said it perfectly in saying any combo of Romine, Cervelli, or Stewart will be as if we have a pitcher batting ninth for us. I believe in defense over offense any day when it comes to catching, but you need SOME offense to be able to catch everyday and lead a team. None of those three will hit that much more than their own weight, and that’s scary.

    • Brian, here’s the deal, AJ is one of the most hated players in the bigs, he wanted too much money, and he won’t have another year like last year. Add to that Romine should be ready for the majors according to the Yanks it makes sense to go with him. Romine is ready, while Heathcott and Williams are not ready, so you sign Ichiro and not Martin or AJ. The young outfielders might be ready next year, but Grandy will have to go, so Ichiro gets 2 years. Seems like the right thing to do to me.

    • Brian, Youkilis was far from horrible last season and the money doesn’t matter since it is only a 1 year deal. Nothing wrong with that signing.

      • I’m not saying I think it’s a bad deal, but the fact he got $12 million for one year and A.J. only got $7.5 is astounding, and hard to understand from a Yankees standpoint.

  3. You guys are forgetting the Yankee qpinsfripes. Class, character, dignity, fair play. AJ exemplifies none pf this…..we don’t want him!

    • twasp, I’m with you on this one. I do believe he was voted by his peers as the number 1 most hated player in baseball. Catchers age quickly and I believe this last year was a “dead cat bounce” year. I’m sticking with “Let the kids play!”. Its been 4 years since we had an new everyday home grown bat added to the lineup.

    • twasp, right on the money, AJ is a bad fit, the Rangers are desperate. They have had a bad off season so far.

    • I do not believe in players needing to be liked by his team mates to help a team win. Everyone uses Ty Cobb as an example for good reason he was the most hated player in history. Outside of the Yankees Posada was not liked that much by players on other teams or pitchers on his own team.

  4. “(Pierzynski) likes to talk a lot of (stuff), and I’ve heard he’s a bad teammate,” one National League pitcher tells Men’s Journal. “He’s been (mean) to guys on his own pitching staff. Basically, if you haven’t got five years in the big leagues, he treats you like you’re a peasant. He’s that kind of guy.”

  5. I’m as pro prospect as much as anyone and believe the Yankees seriously need to get younger but I don’t think Romine is ready to be the starting Catcher. Catcher is the one position where some experience is vital. Romine hasn’t even had an opportunity to be a backup at the MLB level. Having him backup a veteran this season making 40 or starts would be the way to breAk him in. He’s going to struggle offensively so it wouldn’t be wise to let him struggle through 450+ abs at this point. Easing him in slowly would be ideal.

    As for AJ being disliked, I find that comical. Baseball isn’t a popularity contest and guys like ARod, Swisher, Clemens, Sheffield, Wells, etc are/were always on the most disliked lists. It’s meaningless – it’s about perception.

  6. FIsh ….it’s not comical….there are cancers on the ball club that can effect outcomes of the game. I’m sure you played with some as have I. Is it possible to win with one, yes, but it makes it harder.

    Let the other teams go have the a-holes , well win with class like the 90s Yankees.

    • Twasp – Pieryznski is far from a cancer. He’s a hard-nosed player who goes all out, all of time and treats his opponents as enemies when on the field. It may rub opponents the wrong way that he always takes the infielder out at second base and will run over catchers who block the plate. He plays 110% constantly and no one can take that away from him. If he was known as a guy who dogged it on the field or didn’t give full effort I wouldn’t want any part of him. But AJ is the exact opposite. I’ve listened to his take on the game as a broadcaster and I agree with a lot of his views on the game and players. Anonymous surveys that say opponents don’t like him are meaningless. ARod & Swisher are on the same lists, who cares? The Yanks are a veteran team with a veteran clubhouse. 1 year of Pierzynski would not do any harm to the team’s ability to win games. You don’t have to be popular to be good or to win games. No one liked Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Roger Clemens or thousands of other great players.

      It isn’t even so much about AJ. It’s about the fact that the yankees have NOTHING at the catcher position and here was a perfect 1 year stop-gap who would help the team this year. If anyone can show me a better option, let’s do it. But if people thought Russell Martin was bad, are you prepared to start 1 of the 3 guys we have now?

      1) Romine is not ready to start in the Majors yet. He’s caught a total of 99 games the last 2 years and has just 106 PAs above AA in his life. He probably needs a full season of ABs in AAA to develop properly. He’s at best a MLB backup right now.

      2) Stewart has a wet noodle for a bat with a .583 career OPS. ugh

      3) Cervelli is the best current hitter of the trio and the worst defender. The Yanks crave defense at C so much they sent him to the minors for the whole yr after 3 yrs as their Major Lg backup.

    • Twasp like Fish said the Yankees had guys like Wells and Clemens on the 90s teams and they won. You only didn’t care because they won. Another example, people get on Cano for not running hard but nobody jogged out grounders more than Paul O’neill. You only didn’t care because he threw water coolers and they won. AJ would have been a solid addition for the Yankees who do not have a ML caliber catcher on the roster.

      • True Matt B. That when you are winning you are more likely to put up with a-holes. I just dont like nasty a-holes. Cano and Oneil are not nasty a-holes when they dont run out ground balls.

        Id rather lose with players that play the game like Jeter, with respect for his teammates and opponents and respect for the game……then win with nasty, disrespectful in your face baseball.

  7. Surly nasty guys like AJ Burnett, Randy johnson, Kelvin Brown usually end up imploding under the bright lights of NY. Stay away from them.

  8. The players you named Arod, swisher are disliked for a different,t reason…..not for being nasty. More outspoken, phony, etc..

  9. CODY ROSS…thought he was a nice fit. Now signed with Arizona.
    Is it really going to be, Hairston?

  10. Maybe the Yanks can get Kubel from Arizona.

  11. The Yankees will run away with the division this season. Why?

    1. Orioles cannot reproduce that record opinion one run/extra inning games
    2. The Rays habpvenabsolutely no offense
    3. The Red Sox gave away their best player Gonzalez and replaced him with very flawed players.
    4, the Blue Jays have upgraded for sure but are they ready to be elite …..not yet.

  12. The Yankees have Cano……… the most naturally all around talented player …the game has seen since Willie Mays.

  13. The Yanks never missed out on AJ, he was never on their radar!

  14. True be dat, Yanka……mays and mantle were fast. That put them a tool ahead of cano, hamilton and cabrerad as 5 tool players. Trout may just be the real deal.

    • hope ur right and i hope that he WANTS to hit free agency. Him and Harper both on the market on the same year? freaking nuts.

  15. The best player, on the best team, in the best city, in the best state in the best country.

    Robinson Cano, NY Yankees, NY,NY, USA.

  16. Cano cannot Go!

  17. RAUL IBANEZ…where did I put that eraser?

  18. Yankees will sign Cano for 6 years at 25 per.

  19. TWWWASP…..the Cano signing is so far down the line. This is Dec.’12?
    Initial speculation, had reports of them to starting at 175.
    Who knows, maybe Cano, is the one, that will be in the blockbuster?

  20. Save this post

    Yankees sign Cano for $150m 6 years.

  21. THE SOUND OF shuffling feet, in gravel….with Mongo Jerry’, ” In the Summertime”…
    playing in the background.
    There goes Andreu Jones, Nick ‘funny-guy’ Swisher, Eric Chavez, Russell Martin,
    and Raul Ibanez.,…….There they go, shuffling off to Mongo Jerry’ only hit. No one waives good-bye.
    Only, me.

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