On Wednesday the news broke that the Boston Red Sox were designating A.J. Pierzynski for assignment. Immediately I prepared myself for the onslaught of White Sox fans who were going to yell about bringing their Polish Prince back to Chicago. It wasn’t exactly hard to predict given the outcry of a vocal portion of the fan base last winter when the Sox let Pierzynski walk and sign with the Rangers.
Oh the fun I made of them then, and the fun I was planning on making of them again now. But then a funny thing happened.
I actually sat around thinking about it Wednesday night, and you know what? I don’t actually care. If he’s cheap enough, do it. Bring him back. Give the Sox fan base one of those cookies that Theo Epstein is always talking about when it comes to the Cubs prospects.
Pierzynski has not been good this year. The reason he’s being designated for assignment is because he’s hitting .254/.286/.348 this season on a Boston team that’s responding to its World Series title last year by fighting to stay out of last place this year.
He’s also hit only four home runs after hitting 44 over the last two seasons, and he’s doing all of this while making $8.25 million. If I were the Red Sox with nothing to play for, I’d be designating his ass for assignment as well.
But the funny thing about Pierzynski’s craptastic numbers are that they’re actually better than those of the two catchers the White Sox currently employ: Tyler Flowers and Adrian Nieto. I mean, you see Pierzynski’s OBP of .286 and you think it’s terrible, and then you realize Flowers’ OBP is .278. As a tandem Nieto and Flowers have put up a line of .224/.287/.304.
The numbers aren’t what matter here, though. They aren’t the reason I’d be okay with Pierzynski coming back to Chicago.
As long as he’d be willing to come back on a cheap deal, I couldn’t really come up with a good reason to deny Pierzynski his return if he wants to do it. He wouldn’t be blocking some prospect from getting playing time, as Tyler Flowers is most definitely Tyler Flowers, and Adrian Nieto may still have some room to grow, but it’s not like he has a high ceiling.
Also, what exactly do the White Sox have to play for this season? They’re not winning the division, they aren’t taking one of the wild card spots. So even if Pierzynski continues to suck, he’s not going to hurt anything.
He’d just be something for the fans to celebrate.
It seems hard to believe, but we’re nearly a decade removed from the World Series in 2005. Pierzynski was a huge part of that run, and you have to believe this DFA will serve as a sign to Pierzynski that he doesn’t have a lot of time left as a professional baseball player. Odds are that, should he get another job, Pierzynski will finish out the 2014 season and then make the transition to television, which is something he’s clearly wanted to do for years, and he’ll probably be pretty good at.
So just bring him back to Chicago for the final few months of the season and let him go on his retirement tour with Paul Konerko. I know, I can’t believe I’m saying it, either. This kind of hokey bullshit generally goes against everything I believe in when it comes to the teams I root for, but I’ve come to the realization that if I were to actually argue against the idea, I’d only be doing it to be an angry asshole.
I don’t want to be an angry asshole unless there’s a good reason for it.
So screw it. If Pierzynski wants to come back to Chicago, and he’s willing to do so for as little money as possible, just do it. Sign him, trot him out there every few days with Paul Konerko, let them run a lap around US Cellular Field during the last home game of the season, give him a framed jersey from 2005, and unveil the damned statue.
Let the meatballs have their cookie.
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