After putting together one of his best seasons at the ripe age of 38-years-old, the Atlanta Braves have decided to bring back catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year deal, first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Pierzynski’s one-year deal is worth a base salary of $3 million.
The 18-year veteran came to Atlanta last year with the idea of being a mentor and backup catcher to top prospect Christian Bethancourt. Things changed as Bethancourt struggled on both sides of the ball and Pierzynski was one of the team’s most consistent bats in the lineup. In 113 games, Pierzynski slashed .300/.339/.430 with nine home runs and 49 RBI's.
With that kind of production, it was thought that Pierzynski could command a multi-year deal with an American League team. As it turns out, the veteran catcher seems comfortable in Atlanta and wants to be closer to his home near Orlando, Florida. One of the teams that seemed to be a destination was his former team that drafted him, the Minnesota Twins. But once the Twins acquired catcher John Ryan Murphy from the New York Yankees this afternoon, those rumors completely fell apart.
Even though the Braves like what Pierzynski did behind the plate with their young pitching staff and at the dish, the team still wants to give Bethancourt every opportunity to reach his potential. There is still a chance Atlanta could look for a younger option behind the plate. If that comes to fruition, then Pierzynski would still serve as a viable backup.
During his 18 years, he has played for seven different teams (Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves). For his career, Pierzynski is a .282 hitter with 186 home runs and 886 RBI. Pierzynski is also 11th all-time with 1,872 games caught.