The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: A.J. Pierzynski
Season stats: 30 games, 88 PA, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 14 K, .244/.295/.305 69 OPS+
Hero/Goat: Hero 2, Goat 1
Overall grade: B-
Positives: Started off strong after joining St. Louis, hitting .333 in his first four games….had three multi-hit games with the Redbirds….was durable, twice catching complete games that went into extra innings.
Negatives: After his last multi-hit game on August 11, went 8-43 (.186), including 1-10 in September….went 1-6 in the two games he started in the playoffs as the Cards went with Tony Cruz in what turned out to be the finale….went hitless in six of his 20 starts.
Overview: There was a lot of chatter about Pierzynski when he was signed, wondering if the stories about his departure from Boston were true and whether his famously rough personality would fit in with the laid-back Cardinal clubhouse. On that front, there seems to be little doubt that the players enjoyed having Pierzynski around and he brought a little life to what could be a quiet group of guys. There’s not been one negative story about A.J.’s time in St. Louis.
On the field was a different story. While he stepped into the gap left by Yadier Molina‘s injury and Tony Cruz’s being Tony Cruz, he couldn’t maintain his early production. He was more of a threat than any other catcher not named Molina on the staff, but that really is such a low bar that an ant might not be able to limbo under it.
Outlook: Pierzynski’s a free agent and, given his veteran status, probably will command more than the Cardinals want to spend. Pierzynski might not take well to being the backup guy anyway (he went just 2 for 9 in a pinch-hitting role), though likely that’s what he’ll have to settle for anyway. Whatever he winds up doing, it’ll be somewhere else.