The day after the day after Christmas Eve was the day to start giving official statements on the departure of A.J. Pierzynski, and for the Texas Rangers to officially announce his signing. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf dusted off some of that Brooklyn charm to give a poignant closer to his remarks; one that noted the unique relationship between White Sox fans and their otherwise loathed catcher.
“I suspect U.S. Cellular Field will be one ballpark where A.J. Pierzynski will never be booed. He’s earned our cheers.”
He also cited Pierzynski’s performance behind the plate in the Blackout Game in 2008 as one his primary memories of A.J.’s tenure. An odd choice, to be sure, but someone had to say “Hey, looks like Danks is too jazzed up to spot much besides his fastball”, and A.J. was the man to do it.
Absent is any real acknowledgement of the reason the White Sox decided to move on, or even something as vague as “it was time to move on.” Rick Hahn did that heavy lifting for Jerry.
“We feel it’s time to determine whether [Flowers] can be a long-term solution like A.J. was behind the plate for many years.”
To hear A.J. tell it, as he did in his own initial quotes on his departure, the decision seemed to be one the White Sox had resigned themselves to quite a while ago, as they never made any kind of pass at their former catcher.
“It was really one of those things that just never seemed like it was going to work out,” Pierzynski said on a conference call Wednesday after the Texas Rangers announced his one-year deal with the team. “It just seemed like they made some calls but it never got to the point where it was, ‘Hey, let’s move on something.'”
It’s interesting to see this clearly drawn-out, but the White Sox never being interested in bringing back Pierzynski is the only explanation that makes sense, since they were never priced out in the negotiations in terms of years nor money.
At the same time, Pierzynski parried Reinsdorf’s loving words with some of his own.
“At the same time, am I disappointed? Any time you’ve been eight years in a place, you’d love to go back and I’d like to have finished my career there. But I’m excited and looking forward to a new place and a new challenge. I wish those guys [White Sox] nothing but the best. The organization, you know how I feel about Chicago and the fans there. It seemed like it was time for both sides and I’m sad about that but at the same time I’m excited because it’s something new.”
Between this, and Jake Peavy’s initial reaction tweet, it’s looking mighty unlikely that speculation that Pierzynski’s sometimes prickly nature and strained relations with Peavy and Gavin Floyd will get confirmed through a war of words. Pretty much every potential loose cannon is making nice in public. However, there are still Spring Training ‘things are different this year‘ stories to be written, and the Guillen-Peavy fracas didn’t open up till mid-January.
But the initially by-the-numbers reaction seems to indicate how uncomplicated the motivations for this decision need to be when sentiment was removed. The White Sox let a 36 year-old catcher walk so they could pay the league minimum to an overripe prospect.
This will seem normal in a while.
Does Rick Hahn read Nick Schaefer’s Tweets? We report. You decide. (Hint: Probably Not, BUT MAYBE)
I don’t understand why the White Sox are fixated on a lefty bat more so than just “a good bat” in general.
— Nick Schaefer (@n_schaef) December 22, 2012
“Hahn stressed that the White Sox won’t add a left-handed bat just because he hits from the left side.”
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan