A.J. Pierzynski Rumors

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.

Latest On The Rangers: Upton, Pierzynski, Dickey

The Rangers lost out on a trade target when the Royals acquired James Shields last night, just days after losing out on free agent target Zack Greinke. Things aren't going exactly as they've planned this offseason, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a host of Rangers updates in his latest column…

  • A rival executive told Rosenthal that the Rangers are either going to overpay Josh Hamilton or overpay Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers for Justin Upton. Rangers GM Jon Daniels is so focused on Upton that he figures to eventually land him, writes Rosenthal.
  • It's not completely out of the question that the Rangers could acquire Upton and still sign Hamilton now that Greinke is off the table.
  • Anibal Sanchez is a long shot for the Rangers, but he's on their radar. A trade for R.A. Dickey is also unlikely at this point.
  • The team is said to prefer lower-cost starters and could pursue someone like Chris Capuano in a trade to provide an upgrade over Martin Perez.
  • The Rangers are interested in A.J. Pierzynski, who would obviously push Geovany Soto into a backup role. Pierzynski's left-handed bat would help to balance a heavily right-handed lineup.
  • Ian Kinsler isn't big on the idea of shifting to first base one year into his five-year extension in order to allow Jurickson Profar to play second base, but he will play wherever he's asked.
  • Daniels tells Rosenthal he's not planning on Kinsler switching positions yet and is considering all possible scenarios for the 2013 roster.
  • A three-team deal with the Rangers, Diamondbacks and Indians was "very close" to happening at the Winter Meetings. The foundation of the deal was Upton to Texas, Cabrera to Arizona, and Mike Olt and one of Trevor Bauer or Patrick Corbin to Cleveland. Presumably, other names were involved.

East Notes: Phillies, Yankees, Youkilis, Pierzynski

Links out of the AL and NL East..

  • The Phillies recognize that the newly acquired Michael Young isn't a perfect option at third base but they didn't have any viable alternatives, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.  The club hopes that 22-year-old Cody Asche will be ready in a year but the jury is still out on him.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) says that it would be at least be a mild surprise if Kevin Youkilis turns down the Yankees' offer.  Youkilis is deciding between a two-year, $18MM offer from the Indians and a one-year, $12MM deal from the Bombers.
  • The Yankees are hesitating on A.J. Pierzynski because they only view him as an average defender, Heyman tweets.  The catcher is coming off of a big year but the market for him remains a mystery.  General Manager Brian Cashman confirmed earlier this week that he has checked in with Pierzynski's representatives.
  • Next up for the Phillies will be finding a setup man and more outfield help, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. 

AL East Rumors: Rays, Jays, Keppinger, Ellsbury, O’s

As the third day of the 2012 Winter Meetings gets underway, let's round up a few items out of the AL East…

  • Keppinger was the Yankees' first choice as the right-handed part of a third base platoon, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  With Keppinger signing with Chicago, the Yankees are forced to move on to Plan B.

Earlier updates:


AL Central Rumors: Stewart, Revere, Victorino, Soria

The latest from around the AL Central…

  • Despite the fact that the Twins are looking to give Trevor Plouffe some competition at third base, Ian Stewart isn't a match with the team, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III (on Twitter).
  • Ben Revere's name has surfaced as a possible trade candidate, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Revere became the Twins' projected center field starter with the trade of Denard Span to the Nationals, so Morosi believes Minnesota might need to get a center field back in order to move Revere.
  • The Indians offered four years and $44MM to Shane Victorino, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Victorino ultimately chose a three-year, $39MM offer from Boston, but it shows that the Indians have some money to spend.
  • The Royals' offer was "not even close to what I was looking for," new Rangers setup man Joakim Soria told reporters including MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez on a conference call today.  Soria landed a two-year, $8MM deal with the Rangers.
  • The White Sox continue to have dialogue with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
  • We had a few Tigers rumors yesterday also.