I’m on the record, multiple times, as saying Russell Martin is going to be the Yankees’ starting catcher for 2013. Not only do I think that’s going to happen, but I also think it’s the best possible thing for the Yankees. The other catching options aren’t all that appetizing and one of them, David Ross, is already off the market; he signed with the Red Sox last week. Despite my desire for Martin, I think it’s worth while to check out at least one alternative, and that’s A.J. Pierzynski.
He’s been a topic of conversation in the comments of some articles here, and for good reason. Pierzynski just had a career year. He posted a 118 wRC+, his best mark since a 112 mark way back in 2003, his last season with the Twins. Between then and 2012, his wRC+ didn’t go above 93 (2006). He also experienced a power surge, posting a .223 Iso (former career high .163) and slugging 27 homers (former career high 18). The Chicago catcher also checked in with a career high walk rate of 5.4%. He’s reviled by opponents, but has a reputation for being that guy you’d love if he were on the team you rooted for. In a relatively threadbare market for catchers, Pierzynski is certainly an attractive option.
Pierzynski will turn 36 in December and, given that ‘advanced’ age, he is what he is. He’s a relatively high average hitter with limited on-base skills and middling power. For just about anyone, that’d be nothing too special. But as a catcher, that’s pretty good. I’m not sure I believe he can repeat that power performance, but after writing this, I’m more into the idea of Pierzynski than I was at the start. A catcher who can hit for an average at the bottom of the Yankee order really wouldn’t be bad in any way and could help knock in the 6-8 place hitters. Of course, as a mid-30′s catcher, he could fall off a cliff in a heartbeat. Neither one is exactly a devil, but I’m more inclined to go with the one that I know in Russell Martin than I am to go with the one I don’t know in A.J. Pierzynski.
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