Updates from Wednesday, July 16
The Boston Red Sox officially said goodbye to A.J. Pierzynski on Wednesday according to their Twitter account:
#RedSox today released catcher AJ Pierzynski from their roster.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 16, 2014
Updates from Thursday, July 10
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported on the chances of A.J. Pierzynski landing with the St. Louis Cardinals:
My sense is that A.J. Pierzynski is not high on the #stlcards list of potential Molina replacements.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 10, 2014
With a season-long slump prompting drastic changes, the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox are cutting the cord on their A.J. Pierzynski experiment.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Red Sox are designating Pierzynski for assignment:
Sources: #RedSox designating Pierzynski for assignment.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 9, 2014
Sean McAdam of Comcast SportsNet New England confirmed Rosenthal's report. He noted the amount of money the Red Sox will eat by letting Pierzynski go and that Christian Vazquez will be brought up from Triple-A:
Red Sox confirm @Ken_Rosenthal report that they have designated A.J. Pierzynski for assignment. Owed about $3.6 million. Vazquez up.— Sean McAdam (@Sean_McAdam) July 9, 2014
Boston general manager Ben Cherington did a lot of great things with the roster through free agency two years ago, but the Pierzynski deal last winter was puzzling for a lot of reasons.
Even though the Red Sox didn't have a starting catcher after Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed with Miami, Pierzynski has been declining for years. He fizzled out with Texas in 2013, posting a .272/.297/.425 slash line with 11 walks in 503 at-bats, but completely bottomed out in Boston.
The 37-year-old was hitting .254/.286/.348 in 72 games before Wednesday's announcement. For a team that prides itself on having hitters who know how to work counts and take pitches, Pierzynski never seemed like a good fit, though his defense remained above average, according to FanGraphs.
Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com wrote after the Red Sox signed Pierzynski that it seemed like a good move since he wasn't going to be anything other than a one-year bridge to the next generation of young catchers:
The Sox obviously have confidence that Butler and Vazquez could both fill in if the team needs another catcher. Butler hit over .300 for Triple-A Pawtucket in the second half of last season, striking out just 16 times. He finished with an .829 OPS and 14 home runs.
Boston's plan to bring up the young catching prospect has been escalated due to Pierzynski's struggles, but Vazquez will have to struggle mightily to be worse than his predecessor offensively and is a superior defender with elite arm strength and athleticism.
The Red Sox are currently 39-51, in last place in the American League East, and rank 27th in runs scored after leading baseball in that category en route to winning a championship last year. They need a lot of things to change if they want to defend their crown.
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