Found December 21, 2012 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
The Rangers have lost arguably their three most popular players this offseason. And now they've added the most hated man in baseball.
Now that's a personality change.
The Rangers have agreed to terms with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, one of the most irritating characters in the game. Fans will have to get used to the idea of a cheering for one of the game's longtime villains.
They will do this while getting over the loss of Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, whose names have been the backs of thousands of jerseys in the stands at Rangers Ballpark.
Young was one of the bedrock names of the franchise, a pro's pro who had been around since the bad old days.
Hamilton was The Natural, as endeared for his tape-measure shots as his inspiring, faith-based comeback from the depths of substance abuse.
Napoli was the grizzled catcher with the clutch bat, whose name became a staple among Ballpark chants: "Na-po-li! Na-po-li! Na-po-li!"
Baseball fans around the American League also have a chant for Pierzynski: "Boo!"
Like Napoli, Pierzynski is also a hard-nosed backstop. Except Pierzynski spices up his play with a mouth that gets under his opponents' skin.
In various player polls, Pierzynski has been voted baseball's most hated player, baseball's meanest player and the player they would most like to see get beaned.
With his brash playing style, Pierzynski isn't out to win any popularity contests. But he has the market cornered on unpopularity.
For all his irritability, Pierzynski is coming off a career year offensively. He is extremely durable for a catcher, stays in great shape and is known as a smart player. He always handles pitchers well, even though he has a bad habit of running across the mound after being thrown out at first.
It will be interesting to see how the Rangers' clubhouse handles Pierzynski, who apparently has no filter between his brain and his mouth.
This will be a dramatic change for a clubhouse dominated by Young for many years. If the Rangers add free agent slugger Nick Swisher, who also seems to rub opposing fans the wrong way, things could really get spicy.
That might not be such a bad thing for the Rangers, who struggled at the finish in 2012 after back-to-back World Series appearances. This offseason, the leadership mantle is being passed to younger players like Elvis Andrus.
There will still be stable, veteran voices in the clubhouse like closer Joe Nathan. And the example set by Young as a mentor to younger players will not disappear overnight.
Young was a favorite of manager Ron Washington, who could rely on the veteran to get his message across when it needed to come from a player's perspective.
Pierzynski might not be so chummy with Washington after criticizing the skipper for not selecting him to the All-Star Game last summer.
However, Pierzyznski had a valid argument, numbers-wise. It's his competitive nature that earns the admiration of teammates, and Pierzynski was just being true to his nature.
After all, as Pierzynski said himself at the time, the All-Star Game is just a popularity contest. Pierzynski is never going to win one of those.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
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A.J. Pierzynski and the Texas Rangers have agree on a one year deal for next season. Pierzynski, 35, spent the last eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox. A physical is scheduled for tomorrow while financial details have not been released according to T.R. Sullivan.
Pierzynski would be an upgrade behind the plate for the Rangers. The team figures to pair him with Geovany Soto...
I’ve personally been curious why A.J. Pierzynski hasn’t flown off the shelf this free agent season. The numbers are there, especially for a catcher (.278, 28 HR, AL Silver Slugger). 128 or more games for 11 straight years. He’s a consummate catcher in terms of pitching management and working the strike zone for his pitcher. He’ll even work dropped strike three calls...
A person familiar with the situation says catcher A.J. Pierzynski has passed a physical, clearing the way for a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers.
That person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the Rangers had not added Pierzynski to their 40-man roster. With the Major League Baseball office closed for Christmas, the deal won't become official until at least next...
Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski reportedly has agreed to a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers. The deal hinges on a physical set for Friday, CBSSports.com and MLB.com reported. Terms were not available. Pierzynski is expected to compete for the starting catcher job with Geovany Soto, who was acquired last July from the Chicago Cubs. The 35-year-old Pierzynski has played...
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.
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To date, it hasn’t been the offseason that the Texas Rangers wanted it to be. There’s still plenty of time, and the team still has plenty of talent, but the Rangers have been looking to make a move of significance. Later Thursday, they were able to make one, locking up free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. And more, while Pierzynski is coming off arguably the best season of his...
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The Texas Rangers, after striking out for most of the offseason, finally are on the verge of a significant free-agent score.
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The Texas Rangers have added catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
A.J. join Geovanny Soto behind the plate for the Rangers. Soto hit .198 with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs in 99 games for the Rangers and the Cubs.
Pierzynski who spent the last 8 season with the White Sox, is coming off his best offensive season in his career. In 520 plate...
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