Tag:A.J. Pierzynski
Posted on: November 23, 2010 7:22 pm

White Sox decline arbitration on Ramirez

Ramirez The White Sox declined the opportunity to offer arbitration to DH Manny Ramirez, as AOL Fanhouse reports.

Ramirez will likely have to take a low base salary wherever he lands this season. It's possible that's back with the White Sox, but Chicago understandably had no interest in risking Ramirez accepting arbitration and getting a lucrative contract -- if not one over $20 million, his salary in 2010.

Agent Scott Boras said earlier that Ramirez will likely have to follow the path of Vladimir Guerrero in proving himself on a one-year deal before he can be expected to make significant coin again.

In other White Sox news, arbitration has been declined on catcher A.J. Pierzynski, as the team looks prepared to turn over the reins at catcher to Tyler Flowers.

Arbitration was offered to first baseman Paul Konerko and reliever J.J. Putz. Konerko has said some curious things about perhaps moving on from Chicago, but that is not expected to happen. He's likely in line for a two- or three-year deal.

Putz is an interesting case. With a 2010 salary of $3.125 million and an excellent season after a year coming off injury, Putz could be in line for a raise to $5 million in arbitration. It's possible no other team will bite at that salary or offer him more years, so Putz may end up accepting arbitration. If that happens, the White Sox would certainly be happy to bring Putz back to the bullpen and could even make him the closer.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 21, 2010 12:09 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 12:39 pm

Dodgers looking for team leaders

Martin With the Dodger Divorce off the front pages (at least until the judge rules in the case), Los Angeles can focus on moving forward and setting up for 2011.

As Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes, team officials are optimistic about the future in what will be Don Mattingly's first season as a manager with new coaches around him.

Although the Dodgers have a shopping list of a left fielder, second baseman, starting pitcher and catcher, their priority is to add players who they feel can lead the team.

The Dodgers want someone who can push along the development of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Russell Martin, while forcing everyone to be accountable and navigating the team through tough times.

That's not an easy feat to do, and the number of players who have that type of impact are small. However, Cafardo names three free agents who could be a fit: Juan Uribe, A.J. Pierzynski and Johnny Damon.

Uribe could play second for the Dodgers, although it's difficult to envision the Giants letting Uribe walk when they need him to play short and can also slot him at second or third if needed.

Pierzynski is not a bad idea to add to the team, as the catcher's spot is currently one big question mark. Even if the club opts to bring back Russell Martin, they may want to be more aggressive about resting Martin (pictured) or playing him at other positions to try to reverse the path his career has taken. With a pricey payday on the way in arbitration, it's very possible L.A. non-tenders Martin, which would put Pierzynski into the starting spot.

As for left field, the answer there could be Damon. Damon is largely a DH these days but can still play a passable left field. Say what you want about his mercenary tendencies, but Damon has proven to be fantastic at gelling the clubhouse and being a leader.

He, however, has not heard anything from teams yet. While interest could later ramp up when all the big names are off the market, for now Damon has to sit tight.

And unlike at the trade deadline when he rejected a chance to return to Boston, now he refers to the city as a "good spot."

Probably because at this point in his career, he can't rule any team out for fear of losing out on a job.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 15, 2010 6:38 pm

Marlins, Pierzynski may be a match

Pierzynski The Marlins and A.J. Pierzynski have "mutual" interest in a partnership for the 2011 season, as Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports.

Does that mean a union is in the cards?

Not quite. For one, Pierzynski's price tag may be too rich for Florida's blood. Secondly, the Marlins have to make the decision on whether or not to trade Dan Uggla. The club has set aside $10 million for Uggla's services in 2011. With any trade, that money would suddenly be freed up and could be used to go after Pierzynski. If there's no trade, there's no fit.

Pierzynski is coming off a poor season in which he made $6.75 million as the White Sox backstop. He hit .270/.300/.388 in 503 plate appearances, although his splits rose to .299/.315/.403 after the All-Star Break.

While on the downside of his career, there are too many catching vacancies out there for Pierzynski not to latch on somewhere as the starting catcher, or at worst, as the catcher receiving the bulk of the duties.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: November 2, 2010 10:27 pm

White Sox have plenty on plate

Pierzynski The White Sox may be bracing for life without Paul Konerko, and have plenty of other question marks to address if they hope to reclaim AL Central Division crown in 2011.

A life-long White Sox, Konerko eschewed an offer from the Angels after winning the 2005 World Series to re-up with the ChiSox. However, it sounds like Konerko's time in town could be done, even as Chicago hopes to retain him.

At the end of the season, Konerko said it was possible another team could lure him away from the White Sox even if Chicago makes a better offer, "because of what I'm feeling for myself and everybody involved in that moment," as ChicagoBreakingSports.com recalls.

The hint dropped, everyone caught it.

Fortunately for Chicago, there is no shortage of first-base options on the free-agent market, so they shouldn't have too much trouble replacing Konerko. One of said first-basemans joined the free-agent list Tuesday when the Diamondbacks declined his option -- Adam LaRoche. LaRoche could play very well at The Cell and give the White Sox close to what Konerko would give at significantly less dollars and years.

Meanwhile, the need for a left-handed hitter (LaRoche alert!), closer and catcher also keeps GM Kenny Williams awake at night.

The White Sox have always had interest in Colby Rasmus, who could solve their conundrum of a lefty (and an outfielder to boot, where the ChiSox can add a player) but given he is a young, up-and-coming star with the Cardinals, it will take a pretty penny to excise him -- troubles with Tony La Russa be damned.

More important at this time is the future of Bobby Jenks, as Mark Gonzales of ChicagoBreakingSports.com says "it would be stunning" if the White Sox allowed Jenks to return to the team for his final year of arbitration and pay him $9 million. The Red Sox have their same issue with Jonathan Papelbon, but are expected to retain him. Not so in Chicago, when the team has had frustrations with Jenks in the past.

They could elevate Matt Thornton to closer, if not even push Sergei Santos in the role, but Chicago could also ask J.J. Putz to return to town and entice him with the possibility of winning the closer's job. They could also be players for Rafael Soriano.

Lastly, the White Sox may be ready to see the A.J. Pierzynski (pictured) reign as backstop end. Prospect Tyler Flowers is an option to take over, and the club recently exercised a club option on Raul Castro to be a backup. They will dabble in trades (Mike Napoli?) and free agency (Miguel Olivo, John Buck, Victor Martinez?) to find their next catcher if Flowers is deemed ready.

The White Sox have a chance to make some noise this offseason. They have a good amount of money to spend, a desire to win and a GM that pulls no punches in doing so. Watch this team.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 10:33 am
Edited on: October 18, 2010 10:33 am

Late season push gives Pierzynski value

A.J. Pierzynski A.J. Pierzynski seemed headed toward a new career as a retired baseball player or a backup as late as the mid-July, batting .235/.276/.358 in 305 plate appearances, but a hot streak the rest of the season helped reclaim some value.

Now, Pierzynski seems a lock to get a starting gig even if it's not with the White Sox, who may be ready to go with Tyler Flowers behind the dish. Pierzynski's recent play has vaulted him to just behind Victor Martinez and John Buck in the market for catchers.

“With A.J., you know he’s not going to throw people out, but there’s nothing wrong with his receiving and he can still hit," a National League scout told the Boston Globe .

In 198 PA starting July 23, Pierzynski hit .323/.337/.434, plenty valuable from a backstop.

One thing that could inhibit Pierzynski's value is his attitude, which has made him persona non grata in Minnesota, San Francisco and the north side of Chicago. However, controversy surrounding the 33-year-old has died down in recent years, and the scout believes the lefty's attitude can be good for a team.

"I know the fire he has can rub people the wrong way, but I think that’s great for a team," he said.

Maybe, if the right fit. Pierzynski would likely rub people the wrong way if he joined the Yankees, but could have several puff pieces written about him the next season about his "leadership" and "will to win" if he joins the right team.

Right team or not, Pierzynski has played his way into a starting job next season. The only question is where.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2010 11:29 am

Players look toward their future

'Tis the season to look toward next season…

And several high-profile names are doing just that. Here's a quick roundup of some of those:

Jason Varitek Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek: with his eyes watering, the Red Sox captain says he doesn't want to retire, but knows that could mean he has to play somewhere else: "You try not to think about it," Varitek told reporters, including the Boston Herald 's Scott Lauber , "and I hope you guys don't ask me too much about it over the weekend. But it's there. Definitely."

Varitek and starter Victor Martinez will both be free agents after the season and the Red Sox also have Jarrod Saltalamacchia under contract. Last season the Red Sox decline their $5 million option on Varitek's contract, but he exercised a $3 million option to stay.

A.J. Pierzynski White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski: "You guys are talking like there's no chance I'm coming back. Apparently, you guys know something that I don't know, so fill me in," Pierzynski said to reporters, including the Chicago Sun-Times ' Joe Cowley .

Pierzynski will be a free agent after the season, but he would prefer to stay with the White Sox.

"Everyone knows where I stand with the White Sox and the people and the city," Pierzynski said. "I've never said that I don't want to come back. The door is open. But we'll see what happens. It takes two to do that, make it possible."

Kevin Millwood Orioles starter Kevin Millwood:
"The only think I'm certain of right now is that I want to play again next year," Millwood told the Baltimore Sun 's Jeff Zrebiec . "I'm just going to go in the offseason thinking about preparing for next season."

Millwood is 3-16 with a 5.29 ERA and will be a free agent.

Adam Dunn Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn: While so many of these other names are near the end of their career, Dunn will be 31 next season and has 354 career home runs. He's hit .264/.361/.547 this season and has a career OPS+ of 133, including 142 this season.

Still, he's a defensive liability and because of that, there have been some reports the Nationals aren't interested in bring him back . Dunn has said he'd like to return to Washington, but even that seems up in the air at this point.

"If you guys don't realize how sick and tired I am of talking about it, you probably wouldn't ask me every day," Dunn told Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com . "Again, I wish it would have been over a long time ago. It's not, and it's not the worst thing that's every happened to me. My job's to play and my agent's job is to worry about the rest."

Today could be his last at Nationals Park in a Nationals uniform.

"I don't know," Dunn said. "I'm not going to go into [Wednesday] going: 'This is my last home game ever,' cry and hand out Adam Dunn baseball cards. I'm not going to do that. I don't know what y'all want me to say. I don't know what's going to happen. If I did, I would tell you."

Several teammates said they hope Dunn will be back.

"He's such a good guy to have in the clubhouse," Drew Storen said. "He's just a good personality to have as a teammate. Obviously, the numbers, the power in clutch situations, speak for themselves. But I think not having him around in the clubhouse would be the thing I miss the most."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: June 25, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2010 6:26 pm

Zambrano blows up again

Carlos Zambrano The Cubs were able to unload Milton Bradley this offseason, but they may have a bigger, more expensive problem on their hands in Carlos Zambrano, and it's beyond his ineffectiveness on the mound.

Friday, Zambrano blew up once again after allowing four runs in the first inning. Zambrano got A.J. Pierzynski to ground out to first to end the inning, and after Derrek Lee tossed the ball to a covering Zambrano, Big Z stomped on the bag.

Zambrano, a known head-case, began a temper-tantrum when he got into the dugout. At some point Lou Piniella said something to Zambrano and then so did Lee. At that point, Zambrano started coming at Lee and yelling at him. Lee could be seen telling Zambrano his actions were "B.S." but he didn't use initials. After Zambrano threw down a water cooler, Lou Piniella got involved again and Zambrano went to the clubhouse. As Tom Gorzelanny warmed up in the bullpen, Zambrano came back into the dugout.

Whether the conflict was between the two players or just Lee sticking up for the other 23 men on the team was unclear. Juan Pierre did lead off the game with a grounder down the line by Lee, but it appeared to be a tough play as Lee was playing in to defend against the bunt. Zambrano was lifted after one inning, four hits and the four runs -- three off a home run by Carlos Quentin. Gorzelanny threw 3 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit until Gordon Beckham's solo homer in the fifth.

Lee was the first batter of the inning and struck out. After coming back to the dugout, he sat near Zambrano. In the several TV shots of the dugout, the two were not looking at each other.

Cubs announcer Bob Brenly unexplainably said it was "good to see some emotion" and that the Cubs have been a "dead-ass team."

The difference was who was showing emotion and what that emotion was. Zambrano has had several of these types of blow-ups in the past -- plunking White Sox players a year ago on the Southside, a fight in the dugout with Michael Barrett, a destroyed Gatorade machine and too many tantrums to count. Brenly's partner rightfully called him on it, as Len Casper noted emotion can be good, but with Zambrano it's a tired act.

It's no secret that opposing clubs like to get to Zambrano early because they all know he can be rattled and taken out of his game, leading to big innings and ineffectiveness. He's got a reputation in opposing clubhouses as a big, immature baby.

What's worse for the Cubs, who have already demoted Zambrano to the bullpen once this season, is that they're stuck with him. He signed a five-year, $91.5 million extension with the Cubs in August of 2007. Zambrano makes $17.875 million this season and next, $18 million in 2012 and there is a vesting player option for 2013, but he must finish first or second in the Cy Young vote in 2011 or in the top four in 2012 for that option to take effect.

The Cubs can't afford to release him and nobody will touch him on waivers, so they're stuck with him, cursing the team more than any goat.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

UPDATE: According to a Chicago Tribune tweet, Zambrano was filmed screaming obscenities at local cameramen on his way out of the ballpark. The Cubs are going to love seeing that on TV ad nauseum.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 11, 2010 8:06 pm

Trade window for Pierzynski closing

The White Sox have until theend of Sunday's game to trade catcher A.J. Pierzynski without his approval. Following Sunday's game, he will have accumulated 10 years of major-league service time, including more than five with his current team, the White Sox.

Pierzynski told the Chicago Tribune that the trade rumors have worn on him.

"I already said if I didn't, I'd be lying," Pierzynski said. "I'm a human being and obviously I love playing here, I love playing for the White Sox and would love to stay here and to hear about all this stuff and about this and that, it gets to you.

"I'll be happy when Sunday (night) gets here and it will be over with and you guys can ask somebody else about something and leave me along, because I'll know where I'll be."

Manager Ozzie Guillen has told Pierzynski and reporters that he wasn't going anywhere, but he doesn't make the trades, his BFF Kenny Williams does.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com