The Boston Red Sox have come to terms with free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, according to a baseball source, which ends Jarrod Saltalamacchia's tenure with the Red Sox. The deal, which is most likely for one year, the source said, is pending a physical.
The Red Sox never went beyond two years in their offer to Saltalamacchia, according to a source. The 28-year-old catcher, who is seeking at least three years, hopes to strike a deal within the next few days, the source said..
The well-traveled Pierzynski turns 37 on Dec. 30, but he has played in at least 125 games in each season since 2002, has hit a total of 44 home runs in the past two seasons (27 with the White Sox in 2012, 17 with the Rangers last season), and threw out 33 percent of the runners who attempted to steal on him in Texas, his highest percentage in more than a decade.
Saltalamacchia was the better offensive catcher in 2013, his .804 OPS more than 80 points higher than Pierzynski's (.722).
The left-handed-hitting Pierzynski will complement right-handed-hitting David Ross behind the plate for the Red Sox. The short-term deal would seem to be an indication that the team thinks catching prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart might be ready for the majors sooner than later.