A.J. Pierzynski Rumors

AL West Notes: Astros, Rangers, Pierzynski

The Astros will have a new division, sharp new logo, and some new faces as well in 2013.  Chip Bailey of the Houston Chronicle looked at three areas of change for the club and asked if they are truly upgrades.  The move to install Jose Veras as the team's closer given his lack of experience in finishing games is something of a head scratcher for Bailey.  The Astros surprised a lot of people when they signed Carlos Pena to a one-year, $2.9MM deal, money that may have been better spent elsewhere.  However, Bailey tips his cap to General Manager Jeff Luhnow for his efforts to upgrade the club's rotation.  Houston made a trio of low-risk gambles in Alex White, Philip Humber, and John Ely.  Here's more out of the AL West..

  • At today's introductory press conference for A.J. Pierzynski, Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels said that there is a decent chance that they'll add another bat, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.
  • Rangers skipper Ron Washington told reporters that incumbent Geovany Soto will get some playing time but Pierzynski will be the club's No. 1 catcher, Andro tweets.  The club re-signed Soto to a one-year, $2.75MM deal with $250K in incentives.
  • Pierzynski says that he came to Texas in part because of his affinity for playing there and the climate (Twitter link).

Rangers Sign A.J. Pierzynski

After eight years on Chicago's south side, A.J. Pierzynski is heading a little further south. The Rangers have officially signed the catcher to a one-year deal, the team announced. It's worth $7.5MM. Fellow backstop Luis Martinez was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster.

Uspw_6541750The Octagon client met with Rangers brass last week in Arlington and the club reportedly did extensive homework on him. Pierzynski fills a major gap behind the plate for the Rangers, who lost Mike Napoli. The catcher posted a .278/.326/.501 batting line in 520 plate appearances with 27 home runs in 2012. Pierzynski also appeared in 135 games, reaching the 100 games threshold for the 12th consecutive season.

Texas lost out on a big name free agent last week when Edwin Jackson agreed to a four-year, $52MM deal with the Cubs. With Pierzynski officially joining the Rangers, he'll have Geovany Soto as his primary backup with Eli Whiteside as an additional option. The 35-year-old ranked 30th in MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents this winter and Tim Dierkes correctly predicted that he would sign with the Rangers.

Pierzynski also fills the Rangers' need for left-handed hitting as their lineup is predominantly right-handed. The veteran can also be expected to see time at DH for Texas. The Yankees were also in the mix for Pierzynski, but were less-than-enthused about his defensive skills. Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed earlier this month that he checked in with Pierzynski's representatives.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the two sides were close to an agreement while ESPN's Jim Bowden reported the agreement. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com added details (all Twitter links). Mike Axisa contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Saltalamacchia, Yankees

News out of the American League East..

Heyman & Knobler On Hanrahan, Rangers, Bourn

The latest from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com…

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

Rangers, Pierzynski Close To Deal

The Rangers and free agent A.J. Pierzynski are closing in on a one-year deal, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  The deal is still pending a physical and is not yet done.

The Octagon client met with Rangers brass on Tuesday in Arlington and the club reportedly has done extensive homework on him.  Pierzynski would fill a major gap behind the plate for the Rangers, who lost Mike Napoli. The catcher posted a .278/.326/.501 batting line in 520 plate appearances with 27 home runs in 2012.  Pierzynski also appeared in 135 games, reaching the 100 games threshold for the 12th consecutive season.

Texas lost out on a big name free agent earlier today when Edwin Jackson agreed to a four-year, $52MM deal.  If Pierzynski signs with the Rangers, he'll have Geovany Soto as his primary backup with Eli Whiteside as an additional option.  The 35-year-old ranked 30th in MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents this winter.

Rangers To Meet With Pierzynski

The Rangers will meet with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski and his agent in Arlington today, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports. Pierzynski, an Octagon client, would provide the Rangers with an established left-handed hitter capable of replacing Mike Napoli as the club’s primary catcher.

The Rangers have done background work on Pierzynski, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported today. The 35-year-old ranked 30th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents following a strong offensive season in which he hit 27 home runs and posted a .278/.326/.501 batting line in 520 plate appearances. Pierzynski also appeared in 135 games, reaching the 100 games threshold for the 12th consecutive season.

Geovany Soto projects as Texas' starting catcher for now. Recently claimed backstop Eli Whiteside provides depth as a potential bench player.

Rosenthal On Rangers, Nakajima, Upton

The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • Rangers officials aren’t overwhelmed by the remaining free agent position players available, Rosenthal reports. Texas has done background work on A.J. Pierzynski, and could work to sign him. However, Adam LaRocheNick Swisher and Michael Bourn seem like less likely targets. The Rangers are particularly concerned about makeup, according to Rosenthal. Manager Ron Washington knows Swisher from their days in Oakland and likes the outfielder, Rosenthal reports.
  • The Rangers still want to add to their bullpen, and Rosenthal suggests they could make a play for Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. The team is also exploring other bullpen options via trades and free agency. Hanrahan’s projected salary of $6.9MM limits interest from the Dodgers and Tigers, Rosenthal writes.
  • Hiroyuki Nakajima has range that is average “at best,” one executive told Rosenthal. However, the A’s agreed to sign the 30-year-old free agent to a two-year deal in part because they like his offensive potential.
  • Now that many free agent third basemen have signed, the Marlins could pursue a top third base prospect who’s close to contributing at the MLB level. However, it would be difficult to put together a package for a player such as Mike Olt.
  • Some executives believe the Diamondbacks will trade Justin Upton even after GM Kevin Towers said a deal seems unlikely. There’s a perception that the Diamondbacks are down on Upton, Rosenthal notes.
  • When Mets executive Paul DePodesta watched outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra in 2011, he liked the prospect’s athleticism and effort. The Mets acquired the 18-year-old Becerra in the R.A. Dickey trade.
  • The Red Sox are always looking to upgrade their bullpen, Rosenthal adds.

Central Notes: Soriano, Pierzynski, Adams, Royals

Happy birthday to Cubs great Fergie Jenkins, who was born 70 years ago today in Chatham, Ontario.  The 1971 NL Cy Young Award winner won 167 games in 10 years with the Cubs and wore the red 'C' into the Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1991.

Here are some items from Chicago and elsewhere around both the AL and NL Central divisions…

  • The Braves don't have any interest in trading for Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The Cubs are willing to pay $26MM of Soriano's remaining $36MM salary in a trade and have shopped the veteran to the Astros and Phillies this offseason.
  • The White Sox would like to bring back A.J. Pierzynski but only at the team's price, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago.  While the team has kept in touch with Pierzynski's agent, the Sox are prepared to go ahead with Tyler Flowers as their everyday catcher.
  • The Brewers can probably be counted out of the Mike Adams hunt, opines Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link) as the free agent reliever will likely be priced out of the Crew's range.  At least seven other teams besides Milwaukee are known to be interested in Adams.
  • Also from Haudricourt, he outlines how the Brewers have been historically unable to keep their major stars, a trend that may continue given the team's small local TV contract.  The one exception was Ryan Braun, who was already on an eight-year contract when he signed his major extension with the Crew.
  • We heard last month that the Royals were trying to trade Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that while the team will listen, they "feel no urgency" to move either pitcher.  The Royals want a lot of rotation depth and could just put either Chen or Hochevar in the bullpen, though K.C. could also wait until March to find better trade offers. (All links to Dutton's Twitter account.)
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters (including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that his team is pretty much done its winter shopping, though he hinted that the Reds could add a left-handed reliever.
  • As the cost of high-end pitching has risen, Adam Wainwright is in position to receive a huge payday as he enters the final year of his contract with the Cardinals, writes the Associated Press.  Both Wainwright and the Cards are open to the idea of discussing a new contract before Opening Day.
  • From earlier today, the Cubs and Tigers are the final two suitors for Anibal Sanchez.  The Cubs thought they had Sanchez signed to a five-year, $75MM offer, but Sanchez is giving the Tigers a final chance to match or top the offer.

Fallout And Impact Of The Josh Hamilton Signing

Here's the latest on how Josh Hamilton's agreement with the Angels will affect several other players and teams all around the league, including how close some other teams came to signing the free agent slugger themselves…

  • The Rangers have told Geovany Soto he'll be their everyday catcher in 2013, but ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Rangers could now pursue free agent backstop A.J. Pierzynski.  Also from Olney, rival evaluators are speculating that the Rangers might now be the best fit for Nick Swisher (both links are to Olney's Twitter account).
  • The Mariners "badly wanted" Hamilton, which means the Angels disappointed two of their AL West rivals today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).  MLB.com's Greg Johns hears that the M's were heavily courting Hamilton and "had strong hopes" he would sign with them.
  • The Red Sox had interest in Hamilton but weren't willing to offer a contract longer than three years, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
  • The Phillies were similarly not interested in Hamilton at such a high price, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Hamilton's signing could increase interest in other free agent outfielders like Swisher and Cody Ross, thus possibly pricing the Phillies out of the market and forcing them to turn their attention to acquiring pitching instead.
  • The Marlins could reverse their stance on trading Giancarlo Stanton, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, if the Rangers are desperate to add another big bat and were willing to offer Jurickson Profar or Mike Olt in a deal.  Frisaro also thinks Miami could be a trade match with the Angels as Peter Bourjos "has been on the Marlins' radar for a while."
  • Fangraphs' Dave Cameron breaks down the value of Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Bourjos both to the Angels and on the trade market.
  • Bourjos, for his part, tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he wants to remain in Anaheim and enjoys being an Angel, though he also wants to be an everyday player.
  • ESPN's Keith Law doesn't see Hamilton providing much value in the last two years of his contract, though his signing "makes more sense" if the Angels trade some roster depth to fill the holes in their rotation.  Law also notes that Michael Bourn appears to be running out of suitors, and speculates that Bourn could look for a one-year deal now and then look for a big multiyear contract next winter.
  • Early today, we looked at rumors concerning the possibility of the Angels and Mets working out a trade involving R.A. Dickey.

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post

Olney On Davis, Myers, Pierzynski, Hanrahan

Wade Davis told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that he’s excited to join the Royals, since he’ll be asked to start in Kansas City. The right-hander said he’s been “champing at the bit” to start again after spending the 2012 season in the bullpen. Here’s the latest from Olney, starting with the recent Rays-Royals trade

  • One GM said Wil Myers is “not without his flaws,” Olney reports. The prospect struck out 140 times this past season and, as the GM notes, “holes are exposed at the next level."
  • Olney suggests A.J. Pierzynski could be a fit for the Rays, but notes that rival evaluators don’t particularly like his defense. One agent predicts the White Sox will end up re-signing the free agent catcher.
  • The Dodgers have interest in Joel Hanrahan, Olney reports. The Pirates have some interest in Chris Capuano, so perhaps there’s a match for the two NL clubs. Both players have one guaranteed year remaining on their contracts.
  • Friends of Michael Young’s say he feels he was lied to repeatedly with the Rangers, according to Olney. The Phillies acquired the veteran infielder over the weekend after Young approved the proposed trade.