After losing his job with the Boston Red Sox, A.J. Pierzynski is ready to return to the major leagues. The team announced the deal on Saturday:
#STLCards add veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski to roster. Catcher George Kottaras is DFA. Pierzynski expected to be in uniform (#35) today— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 26, 2014
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported the St. Louis Cardinals were attempting to sign the veteran catcher:
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports later confirmed that the move was completed and Pierzynski will join the team immediately:
Pierzynski joining #STLCards tomorrow. Already in Chicago.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2014
George Kottaras was claimed by the Cardinals off waivers on July 11 in an attempt to improve the position after All-Star catcher Yadier Molina went down with a thumb injury. However, the journeyman only got five at-bats with the team and will reportedly be released, per Brandie Piper and Frank Cusumano of KSDK.com.
The organization is hoping Pierzynski will be a better replacement after a solid career of production behind the plate. In 17 seasons, the catcher has posted a .282 batting average with 176 home runs.
The 37-year-old player struggled a bit this season, though, posting a career-low .254 batting average with four home runs in 72 games with Boston. He was eventually designated for assignment by the club before being released in mid-July, according to Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington explained the problem to Mastrodonato:
The offense wasn’t there. I'm not trying to be critical of him. It wasn’t any lack of effort on his part. It just wasn’t there. When you sign A.J. Pierzynski, that’s what you're hoping: You're hoping for left-hand offense at a premium position, and we thought that was important to the team. If we got that, it would complement the team.
Fortunately, the talent is still there for the veteran to provide an offensive boost to a team that remains in the playoff hunt. Although the Cardinals are a few games back in the NL Central race, they have the players to turn things around in a hurry.
Jason Goch of Yahoo Sports Radio likes the move for the team:
#Cardinals reportedly signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Great move by STL. Low risk, possible high reward. Will be motivated by playoff race.— Jason Goch (@JasonGoch) July 26, 2014
Tony Cruz is likely to continue getting playing time behind the plate, but Pierzynski will provide a nice complement as a quality left-handed hitter.
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