The St. Louis Cardinals officially signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski on Saturday morning, 10 days after the Boston Red Sox released him.
And Pierzynski couldn’t be happier about that.
“I definitely wanted to play this year because I didn’t want to end with a bad taste in my mouth after Boston,” Pierzynski said, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I wanted to find a place to play. I didn’t want to end like that. I didn’t want to end the season, I didn’t want to end anything like that.”
After Pierzynski’s release, details of his alleged negative impact on the Red Sox’s clubhouse surfaced, and the much-maligned veteran once again was the subject of critical headlines — though the 2012 winner of Men’s Journal’s “Most Hated Player in Baseball” is probably accustomed to that.
Especially considering he was greeted by boo-birds at Wrigley Field in his first game with the Cardinals on Saturday.
Pierzynski ended up going 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI in the Cardinals’ 6-3 win, but his defensive weaknesses were on display when he failed to throw out Cubs center fielder Emilio Bonifacio by a mile on a stolen base.
The Cardinals had been watching Pierzynski ever since he was designated for assignment, then scooped him up as injured Yadier Molina’s replacement when they saw him drawing interest from other teams.
Regardless of whether Pierzynski can produce for St. Louis in a way that he couldn’t for Boston, the Cardinals are getting a serious downgrade behind the dish. Molina boasted the MLB’s best caught-stealing percentage at 49 percent, while Pierzynski’s 19 percent is only better than that of Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris.
Still, Pierzynski likely will see October with the Cardinals being very much in the postseason race.