Despite his remarkable consistency and durability, A.J. Pierzynski was unable to secure a multiyear deal again this winter. After spending 2013 with the Rangers, he’s joining the Red Sox on another one-year pact.
Working against Pierzynski is his age and throwing arm. Pierzynski turns 37 later this month, and he’s never been great at gunning down would-be basestealers. However, age seems to have hardly taken any toll on his game so far, and the arm alone is just a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to grading catchers.
That’s not to say Pierzynski is great. He’s a stopgap at this point in his career. But he really is on an amazing run. 2013 was his 13th straight season with 110 games caught and the 12th in a row in which he’s started that many. Despite not establishing himself until age 24, Pierzynski is up to 19th all-time in games caught with 1,678. He’ll pass Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Ray Schalk and Johnny Bench on the list in 2014.
He’ll also be entering rarefied air if he can keep this 110-game streak going. Here’s the list of guys who caught 110 games at 37 or older:
37 – Brad Ausmus, Bob Boone, Carlton Fisk, Ivan Rodriguez, Benito Santiago, Ernie Whitt
38 – Brad Ausmus, Bob Boone, Fred Jacklitsch
39 – Bob Boone, Carlton Fisk
40 – Bob Boone
41 – Bob Boone
42 – Carlton Fisk
Since he won’t start against many left-handers, Pierzynski will probably need to stay completely healthy to get to 110 again. At 37, that’s not as sure of a bet as it used to be. However, he’s been proving doubters wrong for a decade now.
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner was involved in a dirt bike accident on an off-day last week. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks with bruised ribs and a sprained left shoulder.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that Bumgarner’s accident could impact contract negotiations going forward. However, he does note that Bumgarner’s situation differs from Jeff Kent’s situation — Kent injured himself riding a motorcycle then lied about it to the team — because he’s been truthful and remorseful.
Bumgarner has two club options for the next two seasons at $12 million apiece which, given how he’s pitched since coming up to the big leagues, pays him significantly below market value. The two sides will come together at some point to discuss a contract extension that would keep the lefty in San Francisco beyond 2019. The Giants aren’t likely to attempt to recoup money as a result of Bumgarner’s injuries — Shea cites Section 5(b) of the Uniform Player Contract — because it might motivate him to test free agency and it would likely leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths. But the uncertainty about the effect Bumgarner’s injuries might mean the Giants are less willing to commit a large amount of money or less willing to go beyond a certain number of years to keep him around for the foreseeable future.
Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.
Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.
Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.
Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.