Prior to the weekend, the only news that we've heard about the Texas Rangers has related to either which players have left, or which marquee free agents they missed out on. But finally, there is some positive news for the Rangers and their fans, as the team agreed to a one-year deal with catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
The fact that the Rangers signed anybody is significant by itself, given all of the offense they've lost this winter. The most notable players obviously being Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli. The addition of Pierzynski helps to replace what the Rangers lost when Napoli agreed to a big deal with the Boston Red Sox…assuming the contract does fall apart over Napoli's hip issues, that is.
From a power standpoint, A.J. is coming off of the best season of his career. He hit 27 home runs and knocked in 78, both career highs, which bodes well for the transition to a park like Texas. His .278 batting average and .326 on-base percentage were right in line with his career averages.
Defensively, Pierzynski isn't the strongest. His defensive WAR was just 0.2 last season. Despite the fact that Geovany Soto isn't terrific back there either, and neither of them throw out very many baserunners, we could see quite a bit of Pierzynski at DH for the Rangers.
Regardless of where he ends up on the field, this Pierzynski addition was crucial for the Rangers. Not only is it important from a performance standpoint, since he'll help to replace some of the offense that was left by Napoli, he'll also add some character and some leadership to the clubhouse. On a deal worth just over $7 million, this is a terrific signing by Jon Daniels.