For the White Sox -- and maybe for baseball in general -- this offseason has been a strangely paced one. Or maybe I'm basing that observation off A.J. Pierzynski's funemployed state.
The last time he was a free agent, his business was wrapped up by the winter meetings. This year, we're 12 days removed from the conclusion of the winter meetings, and his free agency still has no apparent momentum. And this is after a career year at the plate.
Over at MLB Daily Dish, Cee Angi makes the case that the Sox can't afford to lose Pierzynski's offense, and said he would be worth a price of two years and $16 million. That seemed like a good guess at the start of free agency, but now that seems unnecessarily high. But I have no idea if that's true, because there's zero context, even after a bunch of catcher trades and signing over the previous few weeks.
Here's a quick list of significant catcher activity this winter:
- Red Sox: Signed David Ross
- Braves: Signed Gerald Laird
- Blue Jays: Traded for John Buck
- Marlins: Traded for Jeff Mathis
- Pirates: Signed Russell Martin
- Tigers: Signed Brayan Pena
- Diamondbacks: Signed Wil Nieves
- Red Sox: Signed Mike Napoli
- Mets: Traded for John Buck and Travis D'Arnaud
- Blue Jays: Traded for Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas
Those last four listed went in the R.A. Dickey trade, which was completed Monday after Dickey agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract extension with Toronto.
Most of these guys aren't comparable to Pierzynski for one reason or another. Martin and Napoli are the only starter-grade veteran options of the bunch, but they went pretty quickly. The Pirates pounced on Martin, while Napoli took a strategic delay to allow teams to bid against each other.
Pierzynski, as far as anybody knows, is still watching things from the periphery. Texas, Tampa Bay and the Bronx have been floated as potential non-Chicago landing spots, but even by the hot stove season's less stringent journalistic standards, the reporters still feel the need to label Pierzynski-related items as mere speculation.
It's possible that Pierzynski's representation is keeping things quiet, but that doesn't jibe with the last time Pierzynski was on the open market. Looking back at MLB Trade Rumors' archives, the Dodgers were tied to him multiple times throughout the process. The Blue Jays came and went, but L.A. remained in the hunt until the end. Pierzynski got an offer from the Dodgers, called the Sox with it, and Rick Hahn was able to provide a feasible alternative to keep his catcher.
I'd interpret the silence as Pierzynski receiving no substantial offers to date -- because that would finally get the Sox involved for real -- but that doesn't mean he'll end up settling for less. Take a look at Josh Hamilton, who signed a massive contract with the Angels a day after Jerry DiPoto said no major moves were on the horizon. The pockets of the Rangers and Yankees are similarly deep, and if they take additional offseason steps and are still left with a Pierzynski-shaped need, it probably wouldn't take long for them to make Pierzynski an offer he would take to the Sox for measurement.
For now, he remains kinda-sorta a possibility for the White Sox's immediate future, if only because the Sox have yet to let him go. He wouldn't have a Secret Santa partner at the team's holiday party, but he might show up in the background of a few photos, making an inappropriate gesture of your choosing.