If you missed my thoughts on the Phillies signing 36 year-old Marlon Byrd to a two-year deal, it’s something you are going to want to check out. And just when I cooled down from writing that article, it appears that the Phillies are interested in another 36 year-old (soon to be 37), in free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 12, 2013
I feel a little differently about Pierzynski though, because he has been a very reliable catcher, with some pop, since the mid-2000’s. Does Pierzynski’s age still scare me? Yeah, but it appears we are talking about 37 year-old (which he will be before next season) Pierzynski or 35 year-old (which he will be before next season) Ruiz. If you look at it that way, what is the difference in adding another player on the wrong side of 35?
In fact, I wonder if the Phillies shouldn’t forget about waiting for Ruiz to make a choice, and just go after Pierzynski. Pierzynski is going to give the Phillies more power, more RBI’s, and assuming Ruiz plays next season clean, a higher average. Sure, the Phillies will miss Ruiz’s glove behind the plate, but considering how much the Phillies have struggled at the plate over the past few seasons, I think hitting should be valued over fielding.
And when I read things like this, Pierzynski is really sounding better.
Free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz’s agent has told at least one suitor that he has a two-year, $20M offer.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 12, 2013
Two years and 20 million for a guy who hit .268 with five homeruns and 37 RBI’s, while having two separate stints on the disabled list? I’ll pass.
Now no one knows if Ruiz really has that offer or it is just a negotiating ploy by his agent, but bringing Ruiz back is more of the same. Not only would Pierzynski bring a fresh face in the clubhouse, but he is the type of player who brings a spark wherever he goes. If the Phillies want to compete next year, they need a spark. Pierzynski could provide the type of spark that Johnny Gomes and Mike Napoli brought to the Red Sox this past season.
I don’t know what it would take to sign Pierzynski. I know that Carlos Ruiz appears to be pricing himself out of Philadelphia, and considering Pierzynski played on a one-year/7.5 million dollar deal last year, it’s tough to imagine that it would take any more than a two-year/14 million dollar deal, if that, to sign Pierzynski.
My best bet is still to try to sign 29 year-old Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but it doesn’t feel like the Phillies are going to go in that direction. So if it comes down to a two-year/20 million dollar deal for Ruiz or a two-year/14 million dollar deal for Pierzynski, I would sign on the dotted line for the Pierzynski deal in a heartbeat.