The Red Sox have a new starting catcher.
According to multiple reports, Boston has signed A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year contract, essentially ending Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s stint with the club. Pierzynski’s one-year deal is worth $8.25 million and is pending a physical, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pierzynski, who turns 37 later this month, will add some left-handed pop to the Red Sox’ lineup. He hit 17 home runs with the Rangers in 2013 and connected on a career-high 27 long balls with the White Sox in 2012. He’s also a career .322 hitter (38-for-118) at Fenway Park.
The biggest knock on Pierzynski has always been his propensity for rubbing others the wrong way. He was voted “Baseball’s Most Hated Player” in 2012, and is typically seen as a guy who looks to get into the heads of his opponents. Many of Pierzynski’s teammates over the years have had positive things to say about the veteran backstop, though.
Pierzynski figures to be a one-year stopgap while Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart continue to develop down in the Red Sox’ farm system. Vazquez, who will likely begin the year at Triple-A Pawtucket, could be ready for a big league role as soon as 2015.
David Ross will once again serve in a backup role in 2014.