It’s hard to predict catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s motives for every new team he joins. His personality can be a poison and humungous dark cloud over any clubhouse.
He was able to condense it for the latter part of a couple seasons, but as soon as made himself comfortable in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse this season, he became bothersome to his teammates.
On Wednesday, the Red Sox designated Pierzynski for assignment, which many believe was due to his lack of production (.254 Batting Average, 4 home runs, 31 runs batted in).
Now, that was partially the reasoning behind the Sox front office decision to relieve A.J. of his duties in Boston. But, there was an even bigger issue that was taken care of before it was too late.
According to WEEI.com, the front office also made the choice to axe Pierzynski based the alleged negative influence he spread throughout the clubhouse.
In fact, he was such a negative impact that Sox players approached the coaches and front office to address the problem.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to many that Pierzynski didn’t fit well in the Red Sox recent close-knit clubhouse atmosphere, due to his issues in the past based on his personality.
And for a team that just won the World Series in 2013, it was thought that Pierzynski would fit well, what with him winning a championship back in 2005 with the Chicago White Sox.
The Red Sox were sorely mistaken. Signing A.J. to a one-year, $8.25 million deal could be Boston’s biggest regret since bringing Bobby Valentine on as manager in 2012.
Pierzynski’s clubhouse issues have gone as far as staring at his phone during games and even worse looking at his phone after his starting pitcher had a rough outing. Mind you that starting pitchers after a rough start aren’t exactly happy go lucky.
In all seriousness, he just didn’t care. Of course the “staring at the phone during games” conflict was expressed but that didn’t stop the catcher from controlling his outlook with teammates.
As soon as A.J. made his exit out of Fenway for good, his former teammates wiped away their civil poker faces and expressed joy in getting rid of the negative energy that was there once starting catcher.
Even though their walk-off win Wednesday night against the White Sox outweighed their relief of Pierzynski exiting his way out, it was clear that the Red Sox were a different team that night.
They showed glimmers of what made last season magical and unbelievable and also showed that giving up on this Boston team this season is a bad idea.
A.J. Pierzynski may have been the reason why the Red Sox fluctuated in and out of the American League basement for most of the 2014 campaign but the team had its struggles as well.
Safe to say the Sox might be missing Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who signed a deal with Miami this past offseason after he was a catcher for Boston last season.
Saltalamacchia isn't as much of an experienced head like Pierzynski, but unlike A.J. he kept things to together and tried his best to call a good game for his starting pitchers.
What is done is done. The Red Sox will move past their ultimate decision to let go A.J. and will be a better team for it.
Boston seems like a freer, more positive team with this move. What will occur in Pierzynski’s future is to be determined.