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According to sources, A.J. Pierzynski was a disastrous fit in the Red Sox clubhouse. The 37-year-old stopgap catcher was signed by Boston to bridge the hole left by Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the future of the catching position in the Red Sox organization, which centers around Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart. While the entire Red Sox roster seems to be underperforming this year, Pierzynski was the one to be designated for assignment on Wednesday, and it seems that decision was based upon Pierzynski’s lack of offensive contributions and his resistance to become invested in the Sox pitching staff.
Pierzynski was hitting .254 with four home runs and 34 RBI before being designated. While those numbers don’t appear to be anything special, they were just about has productive as any other regular in the Sox lineup. His DFA appears to have far more to do with the report that players went to the front office and expressed their concern about Pierzynski’s indifference towards his teammates.
Still, the Pierzynski signing wasn’t necessarily a bad one. The Red Sox weren’t prepared to offer Saltalamacchia a three-year contract as the Miami Marlins were, so they needed someone to perform as a stopgap until Vazquez was ready. Perhaps there could have been a stronger fit with less drama attached, but the performance of the team has far more to do with the lack of production by the cornerstones of the roster than the offense provided by the catcher, especially when the pitching has been fairly strong.
With Pierzynski out the door, the Sox can focus on the future at the position and hope that the performance of Vazquez over the next few months won’t have them seeking another catcher on a one-year contract for 2015.