Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
The former "Most Hated Player" in baseball
One trade and two free-agent signings later, the Boston Red Sox are prepared to start the 2014 season with three new faces.
December was a busy month for the team, according to ESPN. They signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year contract for $8.25 million. Three days later, they added bullpen depth by signing Edward Mujica to a two-year, $9.5 million contract. Lastly, they sent left-handed pitcher Franklin Morales and right-handed pitcher Chris Martin to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for utility infielder Jonathan Herrera.
Let’s take a closer look at the new faces.
The former “Most Hated Player in Baseball”—let’s face it, A-Rod wears that crown now—has always rubbed fans and other players the wrong way.
He doesn’t appear to be the type of player the Red Sox have been coveting in recent years, given the stigma that follows him. NESN.com’s Ricky Doyle, however, wrote that the reputation following Pierzynski is likely overblown and should not be a problem in Boston.
The 37-year-old catcher comes to Boston with a career .283/.322/.428/.750 batting line. While he is not the catcher he once was, Pierzynski should be able to provide ample offense to fill the void left by Saltalamacchia.
Pierzynski has played a total of 1,412 career games against the 20 teams the Red Sox will face in 2014, and he has statistically performed well, owning a batting line of .279/.314/.417/.732.
If you can’t beat them, join them.
So it would seem in the case of Mujica, the journeyman bullpen arm who spent the last two seasons as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mujica seemingly found his groove as a member of the Cardinals, owning an impressive 1.03 ERA in 2012, appearing in 21 games and 26.2 innings. His workload doubled in 2013, when he appeared in 65 games, owning a 2.78 ERA in 64.2 innings.
He brings added depth to an already formidable bullpen.
According to Fangraphs, Mujica’s repertoire relies heavily on his fastball and a split-finger fastball, and he occasionally mixes in a slider.
There has only been one time when utility infielder Herrera played in 100 games in a season. That was in 2011 when he played in 104 games for the Colorado Rockies.
His time spent in the majors has been relegated to 375 games of utility work, which has included time at second base, shortstop and third base, along with two games playing left field for the Rockies.
The addition of Herrera nullifies the need to bring back Drew and affords the Red Sox the ability to move forward with Bogaerts as their everyday shortstop, while also providing insurance for Middlebrooks should he not perform as expected in 2014.
Herrera is a lifetime .265 batter with a .325 on-base percentage. He isn’t here to win any starting positions, but he will certainly help the Red Sox with spot starts from time to time.