The Minnesota Twins made the announcement that All-Star catcher Joe Mauer will move to first base next season on Monday, and while it’s a good move for Mauer’s long-term health signing a veteran catcher will now go on the team’s offseason checklist. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN-Twin Cities first reported the team to have interest in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but could a familiar face return to the Twins in 2014?
Wolfson also reported that the Twins have expressed interest in A.J. Pierzynski, who was drafted by Minnesota in 1994 and spent his first six seasons with the team. Is the soon-to-be 37-year old veteran catcher a good fit?
Pierzynski spent last season with the Texas Rangers, and hit .272 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI over 134 games (503 at-bats). He has been one of the most durable catchers in all of baseball, with at least 500 plate appearances in 10 of the last 11 seasons and the last eight in a row. He has also caught over 1,000 innings in every season since his second-to-last season with the Twins in 2002, including 120 or more games 10 times in those 12 seasons.
Apart from any contract demands in terms of money and years that may curb Minnesota’s interest in him, it can be assumed Pierzynski would like to play for a team that has a chance to win the World Series next year. The Twins are clearly not in that conversation, even if it’s fun for some fans to think about a reunion with a key member of the franchise’s last team to win a postseason series.
Pierzynski would surely take a place as a key veteran leader in the Twins’ clubhouse, and quite frankly they could use someone like him to light a fire under some underachievers after the struggles of the last three seasons. But adding starting pitching has to be general manager Terry Ryan’s top priority this winter, and giving Josmil Pinto a clear path to playing time behind the plate after his solid performance in September last season (.342, four home runs and 12 RBI) would benefit the team the most long-term.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.