Well, filling out a scorecard didn’t get any easier.
Finally the Sox addressed one of their glaring holes. And, it was a little bit surprising.
The Sox have four holes left by free agents. Not holes in the sense that they are impossible to fill, or are top priorities necessarily. But, when the Sox take the field next April, they need players at catcher, first, short, and outfield. If the Sox simply signed the players who played those positions last year that would be fine. Or, a suitable replacement would not be impossible to find for any of them. The Sox took the latter route for at least one of them.
A.J. Pierzynski was signed to a one year deal, apparently, to catch for the Sox next year. On the surface, it’s a “meh” signing. A veteran signed to a one-year stopgap deal is a very common thing. The Sox sign a few of those every year. But, start peeling the onion, and things get more interesting.
I would rather have Saltalamacchia on the team next year. He’s almost ten years younger than Pierzynski, and at worst a comparable player. Plus, he’s a known entity that just helped the Sox win a World Series. But, because of those things, he’d need a bigger contract. Boston didn’t like that idea. Instead, the Sox are willing to place their faith in a couple of up and coming catchers in their system. They consider that a better move than holding onto a catcher who led the team in home runs two years ago. It’s not a choice I would have made. It’s also a little odd, considering how slow they seem to be taking it with their other prospects. After taking their sweet time with Xander Bogaerts, they’re basing their roster on having a young catcher ready to start in 2015.
It’s also an odd move because both Pierzynski and David Ross are 37. You don’t see a lot of 37-year old catching tandems. Usually, if you have an older catcher, you have a younger one too to take the load off. Much like Salty and Ross did this season. Granted Pierzynski has apparently been pretty durable, but it’s strange not to have a contingency plan.
That being said, Pierzynski fills a hole. The first pitch by the Sox next spring will not go skipping to the backstop. There’s a competent player in the line-up, whose presence may open the door for other additions. Let’s see where this all leads.
I just wish I didn’t have to spell Pierzynski.