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Report: A.J. Pierzynski was ‘negative influence’ to Red Sox
- Updated: July 10, 2014
The Boston Red Sox designated catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment on Wednesday, and now according to a report from WEEI there may be clubhouse reasons as to why the move was made. Rob Bradford of WEEI reported on Thursday that Pierzynski’s negative influence led to the decision to designate him for assignment.
According to multiple sources within the Red Sox clubhouse, Pierzynski had become such a negative influence on the team that players approached both the Sox coaches and front office to address the problem. The common theme expressed was the catcher’s seeming indifference toward his teammates and the common goals of the same organization that had relied on an all-for-one approach when winning the 2013 World Series.
The Red Sox signed Pierzynski after they lost Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Miami Marlins, and Pierzynski was viewed as a fill-in until they could groom Christian Vazquez. However, while Pierzynski struggled on the field, his actions around his teammates and the clubhouse are ultimately what led to the move.
The frustrations with Pierzynski among the Red Sox grew with the catcher’s indifference toward the perceived needs of the club. While it was understood that former Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had some flaws in his game, it was noted in multiple corners of the clubhouse that the difference between the current Marlins backstop and Pierzynski was that Saltalamacchia was invested in his pitchers’ successes and failures, whereas Pierzynski had limited interest in branching out beyond himself.
Pierzynski was clearly never a good fit in Boston, a team in which he signed with after turning down a two-year deal with Minnesota, but the details of how his teammates had to fake their liking towards him, tells a bigger story.
While some murmurs of these issues had circulated throughout the season (surfacing a bit in an article written by the Herald’s John Tomase), the Red Sox players were trying to put on a good face in regard to Pierzynski’s presence all the way up until he was designated for assignment. But after the team’s latest turnover, the time had come to take stock of what was an experience unlike something many veterans had ever dealt with.
A.J. Pierzynski is no longer a part of the Boston Red Sox organization, and it’s likely the best clubhouse move they’ve made all year. Whether or not Pierzynski will find another team this season remains to be seen, but the poor attitude that is being report means it could be pretty hard to get in with another team.
Follow Mike Pendleton on Twitter @MP2310
Photo credit: (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)