Catcher A.J. Pierzynski comes to the Red Sox with a reputation as being one of players’ most-hated opponents, which begs the question: Will he disrupt the clubhouse chemistry that was so integral to Boston’s run to the World Series?
After talking with his manager last season (the Rangers’ Ron Washington), ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney thinks Pierzynski will fit right in.
“[Washington] loved having A.J. on the team. He talked about the energy that A.J. brought to the dugout every day,” Olney explains in the video above. “[Washington] encouraged him to cajole other players, to get on them to push other people. And he really thought that’s just A.J. getting ready for a game.
“And now that he joins the Red Sox, he could fit right in. Remember, one of the strengths of the Boston players working together in 2013 were the fact that they brought so much energy to the park every day, the fact that they seemed to push each other.”
Olney described Pierzynski as a “battler” at the plate, but a guy who doesn’t take many pitches (which seems to go against the team’s plate-patience strategy). In fact, while Pierzynski has hit .322 over his career at Fenway Park, he has just a single walk in 121 plate appearances.
By locking in Pierzynski to a one-year deal, Olney called him a “bridge to the future” until one of the team’s top catching prospects are ready for the majors.