A.J. Pierzynski Rumors

AL Central Notes: Perez, Scherzer, White Sox, Twins

The latest from the AL Central on the day before Michael Bourn is expected to take his physical with the Indians

  • Chris Perez said he was pleased to see the Indians agree to terms with Bourn, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "It feels like we're a big market club," Perez said. Last fall the closer publicly criticized Indians ownership and management for their decision making and spending.
  • Max Scherzer said the Tigers brought up the possibility of a long-term contract this winter, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. “We talked about it,” Scherzer said. “But we were more focused on just getting one year done." Agent Scott Boras represents Scherzer, who said he loves Detroit and the Tigers organization. Scherzer is on track to hit free agency following the 2014 season.
  • A.J. Pierzynski said he's not disappointed to have moved on from the White Sox to the Rangers, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports. "I'm excited about the new opportunity here and the chance to come to a team that definitely has a team to be very competitive, with a goal of going to the playoffs," he said. Pierzynski, who obtained a one-year, $7.5MM deal from the Rangers, described the signing as "bittersweet."
  • The Twins have a new-look rotation after adding pitching reinforcements during the offseason, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com writes.

Hahn On Viciedo, Pierzynski, Stewart

Earlier today, the White Sox hosted SoxFest 2013, an interactive event where fans got the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with General Manager Rick Hahn.  Executive Vice President and former GM Kenny Williams couldn't resist joining in and closed things out when he asked Hahn if he'll do a better job than his predecessor.  Hahn responded by saying that the last GM had a better support staff in place (via White Sox on Twitter) and drew laughs from everyone in attendance.  Here's more on the White Sox..

  • Hahn said that the White Sox haven't shopped Dayan Viciedo but added that no one is untouchable, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.  It was reported last month that the White Sox discussed deals involving Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza.
  • The GM was asked about the departure of A.J. Pierzynski and he explained that the money that would have gone to the catcher was instead re-routed to Jake Peavy, Jeff Keppinger, and Matt Lindstrom, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.  Hahn also expressed confidence in catcher Tyler Flowers' abilities.
  • A fan asked Hahn about the decision to claim Zach Stewart off of waivers from the Pirates.  The GM explained that Stewart adds depth to the team's pitching, cost the team very little, and has big league experience, Gonzales tweets.  The White Sox's decision to pick up Stewart yesterday marked the second time that they have acquired the right-hander in two years.

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.