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December 4, 2013

The Pierzynski deal keeps plan in motion

(Continued)

Pierzynski will earn $8.25 million pending a physical, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Yes, his OBP was low last year, but he had the fifth best batting average (.272) among major league catchers last year and still possess power (27 homers in 2012, 17 homers in ‘13). His 42 extra-base hits last year ranked 10th among major league catchers.

Will his attitude be a problem?

A 2012 Men’s Journal survey identified Pierzynski as the most hated player in baseball. But don’t confuse that with him being a bad clubhouse personality. He is respected by his teammates while being a great agitator to opponents.

And although his offense is his strength, he is considered a strong game-caller and he did throw out 33 percent of base stealers last year, up from 25 percent for his career.

Terry Doyle — a free agent pitcher at the moment — was with Pierzynski during spring training with the White Sox and threw to him in one spring training relief outing.

“As far as I can remember, pitchers like him and throwing to him,” Doyle wrote in a text message yesterday.

Pierzynski batted .278 with a .326 on-base percentage, .501 slugging percentage and .827 OPS in 2012 with the White Sox when he won a Silver Slugger award.

He also is considered a big-game player. He is a career .300/.372/.520/.892 in 114 postseason plate appearances. Conversely, Saltalamacchia batted .188/.257/.219/.476 in 35 playoff plate appearances this year.

Additionally, the left-handed hitting Pierzynski should make for a good tandem with the right-handed hitting Ross.

HANIGAN TRADED

Andover High graduate Ryan Hanigan, who had been on the trade block for about a month, was shipped from the Cincinnati Reds to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays now have an excellent defensive catching tandem, Jose Molina and Hanigan.

Hanigan has a .359 career on-base percentage and is considered an elite defender, including leading the NL the past two years in caught stealing percentage. The catcher struggled offensively this past season (.198 average), but he suffered through a sprained wrist and oblique injury.

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