For the past eight seasons, the Chicago White Sox and their fans have seen AJ Pierzynski behind the plate. He brought a lot of memories to the Southside, with a strikeout being the most memorable. As a White Sox fan, it was easy to root for Pierzynski, seeing as he ticked off basically every team’s fanbase with his needling ways. And after Pierzynski had a career season this past year, many thought the White Sox should pay up and bring AJ back to the team in 2013. But thanks to a one-year, $7.5 million offer from the Texas Rangers, AJ will not return, and I am perfectly fine with that decision.
Fact of the matter is: AJ Pierzynski has absolutely zero chance to repeat his 2012. At age 35, Pierzynski set career highs in essentially every offensive category, which caused many people to believe a bogus PED allegation late in the season. Although the rumor was false, it really put things in perspective for me. It allowed me to realize that his season was so ridiculous, many people could easily justify the claim based on his numbers, which is why the White Sox made the right decision by not pursuing him this winter.
Now, what does this mean for the White Sox in 2013? Well, it’s pretty obvious Tyler Flowers has the inside track to become the starting catcher, which is completely cool with me. I’m one of the very few people that actually likes Flowers. He’s basically Chris Iannetta lite, figuring he will have a slash line close to .220/.310/.400. But Flowers gives the White Sox some much needed defense behind the plate.
I don’t think it’s possible for a player to have a worse defensive season than Pierzynski did last year. I forget the exact number, but the amount of passed balls and wild pitches he allowed was mind-boggling.
Based on defense and regression, I fully expect Flowers – if given the at-bats – will have a better season than Pierzynski in 2013. I’m sure there is a better chance of seeing the 1.5 fWAR Pierzynski instead of the 3.4 fWAR one. And considering Flowers had a 1.2 fWAR in 153 plate appearances, it’s a pretty safe bet he will outproduce Pierzynski over the course of the season.
Unlike most White Sox fans, I really don’t have any emotional attachment when it comes to a lot of these guys. I just want the team to make wise decisions and play the right players.
They accomplished both of those goals today.