Death, taxes and AJ Pierzynski being on the Chicago White Sox seemed like things that will never change. But after a great 2012 season, the South Siders decided it was time to part ways with their long-time backstop as he moved on to the Texas Rangers. Standing in the wings to replace him is Tyler Flowers.
Last season, Pierzynski hit .277 with 27 HRs. Despite Pierzynski’s defensive limitations, he was a leader in the clubhouse and did a solid job of managing a pitching staff. Flowers has rather large shoes to fill both from a production and leadership standpoint. Just to put things in perspective, Flowers hit .217 in limited duty with seven HRs in 136 at-bats. If you project out 500 at-bats, Flowers could hit around 25 HRs, but his average will remain an issue. Defensively, Flowers hasn’t shown a real propensity to throw out base runners either. In his career, he has an average of 29% of base runners caught as compared to Pierzynski’s mark of 24%. This is troubling because Pierzynski hasn’t exactly been considered a great defensive catcher and Flowers may be following that lead.
The 2012 White Sox had an amazing run and darn near made it into the playoffs. The team just ran out of gas at the end and couldn’t finish. Losing one of its most valuable performers seems to put this team further behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. I just don’t see Flowers making up for Pierzynski’s production on the White Sox.
While the day was eventually going to come when Pierzynski would not be on the team, replacing him with an unproven and frankly not overly impressive player was the wrong approach. But everyone thought this team was dead-in-the-water before the season started last year. And look at what happened. Only time will tell.