The Chicago White Sox have serious decisions to make regarding a few players as the MLB free-agency period prepares to get underway. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is at the top of a list that will include Jake Peavy, Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers once the White Sox buy out those contracts.
Pierzynski is a must-sign and his importance to the White Sox is impossible to overstate.
Not only did the 35-year-old hit .278, but he clobbered a career best 27 home runs and tied a career-high with 77 RBI. Additionally, Pierzynski caught over 1,000 innings for the 12th consecutive season, threw out 26 percent of would-be base stealers and was critical in the development of an extremely young pitching staff.
There are significant barriers to Pierzynski resigning and money is, most certainly, the greatest obstacle.
Finances for the team are tight, but there is some hope that the two sides may be able to reach an agreement that would keep him with the team. John Heyman, from CBSSports.com, suggested Wednesday that $16 million over two years may be enough to keep Pierzynski on the South Side.
There is a precedent for hope.
Heyman noted that the L.A. Dodgers actually outbid the Sox two years ago for Pierzynki’s services, yet he chose to stay in Chicago due to his fondness for the city and his relationship with owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
Let’s hope that remains the case because if Pierzynski leaves via free agency, the White Sox are in trouble for two reasons.