MLB Trade Rumors: Is A.J. Pierzynski Forcing the White Sox to Trade Him?

Matthew Smith@@MatthewSmithBRCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2012

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski may be the first to go.
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski may be the first to go.Brian Kersey/Getty Images

If there is one thing that Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams is not afraid to do, it’s to pull the trigger on a trade.

Thus far this year, one player had made himself the most tradable on Chicago’s roster. A.J. Pierzynski is playing so well right now for the Sox that Williams would be foolish not to deal him.

Pierzynski is batting .286 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI while dramatically improving his steals against average.

Pierzynski leads all American League catchers in RBI and is tied with Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the AL lead in home runs.

Oh, he is also a free agent after this year is over, so his worth for a contender cannot get any higher.

Other than Tyler Flowers, the Sox have no real options behind Pierzynski, but this should not deter Williams from getting two or three prospects in return for the former All-Star.

Potential trade partners in the American League include the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Toronto Blue Jays. National League suitors include the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves.

Each team has high level prospects that would fortify a minor league system Williams has been trying to replenish since last offseason.

While Pierzynski's production batting sixth has been an important factor in the White Sox playing better baseball than when the season began, his value is just too great on the trade market.

The other position players on the White Sox roster who would be tradable based on their production this year are either too young (Dayan Viciedo) to let go, or have bloated contracts (Adam Dunn and Alex Rios) that make them almost unmovable.

Other than Gavin Floyd, the pitching staff should be left intact for the moment as Jake Peavy may force other teams to overlook his injury history and large contract. 

This assumes, of course, that manager Robin Ventura will do the right thing and insert the newest member of the White Sox pitching staff, Dylan Axelrod, into the rotation and give Philip Humber the long relief role recently vacated by Zach Stewart.

Either way, Pierzynski has, by far, the most value on the trade market and is forcing Williams’s hand.

Don’t be surprised to see Pierzynski get dealt before the deadline, White Sox fans.

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