A.J. Pierzynski has said he’d like to re-sign with the White Sox and new general manager Rick Hahn has said he’s open to bringing back the free agent catcher, but Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com put together five reasons why a reunion won’t be happening.
Some are money/roster based, while another is the fact that Tyler Flowers is 26 years old and if the White Sox think he has any kind of long-term future as a catcher in the big leagues it’s time to give him an extended opportunity.
Securing a multi-year contract might be tough for Pierzynski at age 35, but there are plenty of teams for whom he’d be a big upgrade coming off a season in which he hit .278 with career-highs in homers (27), RBIs (77), slugging percentage (.501), and OPS (.827). He’s not much of a defender at this point, but Pierzynski has been an above-average catcher offensively for basically his entire career.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?