The Boston Red Sox signed veterans Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Dempster, David Ross, Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew to short-term deals last offseason.
It appears they are doing the same this year, as the team has signed veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
The Red Sox confirmed the move on Wednesday (via Jenny Dell of NESN):
OFFICIAL: The #RedSox today signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year contract through the 2014 season.— Jenny Dell (@JennyDellNESN) December 4, 2013
Pierzynski also discussed the move after being introduced by the team:
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to break the news:
aj pierzynski, red sox agree to a deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2013
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed the report:
Alex Speier of WEEI.com later reported Pierzynski and the Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract. ESPN's Buster Olney provided monetary insight:
A.J. Pierzynski's one-year deal with Boston is for $8.25 million, pending a physical.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 3, 2013
Later in the night he officially passed his physical per Rosenthal:
Pierzynski passed physical with #RedSox, one-year deal is official.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2013
Pierzynski, 36, was a solid addition to the Texas Rangers last season, hitting .272 with 17 home runs, 70 RBI and 48 runs scored in 134 games. The season prior, he hit .278 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI with the Chicago White Sox.
That was his career high in home runs, and it tied his career high in RBI. It would seem a bit of pop has returned to Pierzynski's bat in his later years.
The move likely signals the end for Jarrod Saltalamacchia in Boston. The 28-year-old catcher hit .273 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI in 2013 but is currently a free agent.
The Red Sox had already missed out on Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz, so making a move in the catcher market was a priority. It's a bit surprising the team is going from Saltalamacchia to Pierzynski; the two players had similar production in 2013, but Saltalamacchia is eight years younger.
More than likely, Saltalamacchia is commanding more money and years on the market than the Red Sox were willing to match.
According to Heyman, the team "was always hesitant to do a very long deal with a catcher as it is has two very good catching prospects, in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez, who could be ready fairly quickly."
Thus, Pierzynski made sense. He's certainly a solid consolation prize.