Two years ago, the Dodgers nearly signed A.J. Pierzynski to replace catcher Russell Martin, who was ultimately not tendered a contract. So perhaps it's only fitting that on the night Martin reached agreement on a two-year, $17 million contract with the Pirates that the Dodgers are linked to Pierzynski again.
In reality, the Dodgers aren't likely to add Pierzynski. But because the Dodgers have shown no budgetary limits to date since the new ownership took over, they will be linked to just about every available player. Enter Jon Heyman at CBS Sports.
"It seems like something of a long shot considering the nice season A.J. Ellis had catching for the Dodgers in 2012, and Dodgers people are indeed painting Pierzynski as a remote possibility, at best," Heyman wrote. "The Dodgers were quite happy with Ellis, who had a very nice year in 2012, and may instead look to add only a backup."
Pierzynski, who turns 36 on Dec. 30, had a career year in 2012, hitting .278/.326/.501 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI.
It seems like the loosest of rumors, but the Dodgers have shown interest in Pierzynski before. Two years ago he nearly signed with the Dodgers for "in excess of $4 million" for one year, per Tony Jackson, then of ESPN LA. But White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf swooped in with what Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune called "a last minute call" to keep Pierzynski in Chicago for a two-year, $8 million deal.
So after Pierzynski nearly replaced Martin in Los Angeles, the Dodgers backstop job instead went to Rod Barajas. Now Martin replaces Barajas in Pittsburgh. The circle of life.
Aside from the awkward hilarity of reuniting Pierzynski with Dodgers vice president of medical services Stan Conte, who as Giants team trainer in 2004 was kneed in the groin by Pierzynski, let's play devil's advocate for a moment. Would a platoon at catcher of two of the eight A.J.s in major league history work?
Pierzynski, a left-handed batter, is a career .291/.334/.442 hitter against right-handed pitchers, and hit .287/.338/.536 against them in 2012.
Ellis, a right-handed batter, has no real platoon split in the majors, hitting .247/.366/.383 career against lefties and .274/.369/.387 against righties in his career.
If there truly is no budget limit, or at the very least a very high limit, wanting to upgrade on Tim Federowicz as a backup catcher isn't the worst idea in the world. But it seems farfetched at this point to think Pierzynski will be a Dodger.
Chalk this rumor up to the price of doing business in the deep end of the free agent pool.