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.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.
Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.
When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.
The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.