LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers came tantalizingly close to signing free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year contract before the Chicago White Sox added a second year to their offer, resulting in Pierzynski accepting a two-year, $8 million deal to remain with the White Sox.
A source with knowledge of the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the Dodgers were close to a deal last week that would have paid Pierzynski in excess of $4 million to join the Dodgers as the deadline neared for offering a contract to catcher Russell Martin.
Pierzynski confirmed to ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine that people had no idea how close he was to bolting the White Sox before they offered two years.
When Pierzynski ultimately signed with the White Sox, the Dodgers still wound up non-tendering Martin because they weren't willing to meet his asking price of a $5 million guarantee. The club then re-signed veteran catcher Rod Barajas to a one-year, $3.25 million contract.
The team's plan for now is that Barajas will handle the bulk of the catching in 2011 with A.J. Ellis as the backup. However, the Dodgers continue to explore the free-agent market for an additional catcher who would share time with Barajas on a roughly equal basis.
Pierzynski played for San Francisco in 2004, when Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was the Giants' assistant GM.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.