Thursday, December 20, 2012
Updated: December 22, 3:19 PM ET
Source: A.J. Pierzynski, Texas agree
By Richard Durrett
Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski has agreed to terms with the Texas Rangers on a one-year deal, sources confirmed.
Pierzynski passed a physical Friday, but the Rangers did not add him to their 40-man roster. With the Major League Baseball office closed for Christmas, the deal won't become official until at least next week.<
Pierzynski, who turns 36 on Dec. 30, batted .278 with 27 homers (a career high) and 77 RBIs (tied a career-high in 2004) this past season for the Chicago White Sox. He played in 135 games, starting 121 at catcher.
The veteran would give the Rangers a left-handed power bat in a lineup that was right-handed heavy even before Josh Hamilton signed his five-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels last weekend.
Pierzynski could catch and play some designated hitter in Texas with catcher Geovany Soto also under contract with the team.
Pierzynski, who made $6 million in 2012 as part of a two-year, $8 million contract, would step into the spot vacated by Mike Napoli, who agreed to terms on a three-year deal with Boston at the winter meetings. That deal has not been finalized.
Napoli hit 24 homers and had 56 RBIs in 108 games for Texas in 2012, but hit just .227.
In 133 career at-bats at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Pierzynski has hit .271 with three homers and 16 RBIs. He has nine doubles, one triple, 19 strikeouts and six walks. He's been hit by a pitch seven times as well.
It was just last July when Pierzynski was left off the AL All-Star team by Rangers manager Ron Washington, who said he just didn't have room to put him on the squad. Washington has repeatedly praised Pierzynski throughout the years.
"I feel bad for Pierzynski," Washington said shortly after the All-Star team was announced. "The guy's having an outstanding year. He's been working with a very good pitching staff over there with those Chicago White Sox for many years. I consider him a winning player because he beats you any kind of way he can. He beats you mentally. He beats you physically. So I feel really bad for Pierzynski."
Pierzynski was not pleased with Washington's decision.
"If (Washington) felt that bad, he would have put me on the team,'' Pierzynski said at the time. "He had an opportunity to and he didn't do it. Obviously, he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didn't feel that bad."
Jim Bowden, a senior baseball analyst for ESPN Insider, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.