2013 Team: Texas Rangers
Key 2013 Stats: .272 AVG/.297 OBP/.425 SLG/17 HR/70 RBI
Throughout his 16 year career, A.J. Pierzynski has been notorious as one of the most disliked players in the game. He tends to irritate opponents to the point of distraction. He even managed to get himself punched in the face back in 2006.
That shoudn’t overshadow his excellent career. He is a two-time All-Star who has always been able to supply a little bit of power. In 2012, he provided more than just a little bit, socking a career high 27 home runs. It seemed fluky that a 35 year old catcher would experience a sudden power surge, but he followed that up with 17 more in 2013.
Why He Might Be a Good Fit
He’s right-handed, he plays catcher, and he can hit for some power. Those are three things that the Phillies happen to be looking for this offseason.
Why He Might Not Be a Good Fit
Pierzynski has some definite drawbacks. It might be foolish to expect a 37 year old catcher to continue his late career power surge. I’d say it’s more likely that his 2014 homer total is in single digits rather than him hitting more than 20 again. And aside from his power, there is nothing special about any of his other offensive numbers.
Pierzynski is also not noted for being a great defender or handler of pitchers. The pitching staff might revolt if they have to switch from Carlos Ruiz to Pierzynski.
If the Phillies want to go with an older player at catcher, there is little reason to go with Pierzynski over Ruiz aside from the cost. And based on how the market plays out, Pierzynski might not even be that much cheaper. The only real advantage Pierzynski holds is greater power, and I’m skeptical of how well that will hold out.
I would look elsewhere to fill the void at catcher.