Over the winter, targets for the starting catcher job began with A.J. Pierzynski. The Twins had apparently offered him a two-year contract, but heading into his age-37 season Pierzynski wanted an opportunity to win. It was admittedly a difficult choice for the former Twin to make, but he did ultimately choose a one-year contract with the Red Sox over the offer from Minnesota.
John Buck was recently designated for assignment. He was one of Minnesota's backup options for that catcher job. Well, it turns out Pierzynski wasn't far behind him.
Sources: #RedSox designating Pierzynski for assignment.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 9, 2014
Pierzynski hit .254/.286/.348 in 72 games for Boston, with 64 of those being starts behind the plate. His departure makes room for Christian Vasquez who, at 23, isn't a great prospect but certainly can't do much worse than Pierzynski has for a fraction of the price.
Now that we've gotten past the part where we talk about how rubbish Pierzynski has been this season, I have to ask: could he be a fit for the Twins? In most circumstances the answer would be an easy and unequivocal "No, Jesse, now stop it," but circumstances make it an intriguing prospect.
Josmil Pinto has been hitting well in Triple-A but is currently on the disabled list and, in any event, isn't likely to return to Minnesota until September barring a trade of Kurt Suzuki. Eric Fryer, meanwhile, is a career .258/.333/.323 hitter in the Majors. Talented, certainly, but is he a better player than Pierzynski?
You could call it rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but there's something to be said for an established Major League catcher who has seen pretty much everything there is to see. Kyle Gibson hasn't had the opportunity to work with another catcher of Pierzynski's experience and quality, outside of perhaps Joe Mauer, and with pitchers like Alex Meyer and Trevor May due to make their debuts (hopefully) later this season, there's value in having a player who can double as a coach and mentor for the game within the game.
Will replacing Fryer with Pierzynski translate to more wins this year? No, probably not. But it could be an opportunity to impart a little wisdom to the organization's less experienced pitchers.