A.J. Pierzynski and the Marlins have “mutual interest”

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According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post “there is mutual interest between the Marlins and A.J. Pierzynski, but he might be too expensive for Florida.”

Capozzi cites the $6.75 million Pierzynski made this season, but in reality there’s zero chance of him costing that much as a free agent in 2011. Pierzynski is 34 years old and coming off the worst season of his career, hitting .270 with a .300 on-base percentage and .388 slugging percentage for a .688 OPS after 10 straight years topping .700.

Toss in Ramon Hernandez re-signing with the Reds yesterday for one season and $3 million after having a significantly better year than Pierzynski and the market has pretty much been set for the veteran catcher. Even the penny pinching Marlins will be able to afford him, but the bigger issue is that Pierzynski is a Type A free agent.

Because the Marlins have the 14th pick in next year’s draft and the top 15 picks are protected from being free agent compensation they would instead send the White Sox their second-round pick for signing Pierzynski, but even that is a pretty steep price to pay for a mediocre 34-year-old catcher. Of course, that assumes the White Sox will offer Pierzynski arbitration by the November 23 deadline, which is far from a sure thing because he could simply accept the offer and force Chicago into a one-year deal for at least $6 million.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

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The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.