A.J. Pierzynski passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox last week and has now been released.
That means Boston is on the hook for his entire $8.25 million salary and the 37-year-old catcher is able to sign with any team for whatever he can get. His parting gift was being badmouthed in the media on his way out the door, which is something the Red Sox have become extremely proficient at in recent years.
Pierzynski hit just .254 with four homers and a .633 OPS in 72 games for the Red Sox, posting a hideous 40/9 K/BB ratio and throwing out just 19 percent of stolen base attempts. He should be able to latch on somewhere as a part-timer down the stretch, but his days as a starting catcher are probably over.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.