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A.J. Pierzynski rumors: Catcher likely won't return to White Sox

It's becoming unlikely that free-agent catcher A.J.Pierzynski will return to the Chicago White Sox, despite the lack of interest Pierzynski has encountered on the open market.

Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski produced some excellent numbers for the Chicago White Sox in 2012, but general manager Rick Hahn apparently has no interest in paying market value for Pierzynski's services going forward.

The gritty backstop hit .278/.326/.501 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI last season, but the Sox haven't been interested in bidding on the 35-year-old in the free agent market. Now, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago says it's doubtful that Pierzynski will be back with the White Sox.

According to Levine, it's far more likely that Pierzynski will wind up on a short-term deal with either the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers or Tampa Bay Rays. There hasn't been much interest in A.J. around the league, but he has proven to be durable and dependable throughout his MLB career and teams are always in need of quality players to put behind the plate.

The White Sox simply don't appear willing to pay a premium for a player on the back end of his career. It could come down to money with Tampa Bay as well, but the Rangers and Yankees always seem willing to pay if they like a player enough in free agency.

If Pierzynski departs, Chicago will likely turn to 26-year-old catcher Tyler Flowers as starter. The Sox acquired Flowers in the 2008 trade with the Atlanta Braves in which they sent Boone Logan and Javier Vasquez to the Braves in exchange for Flowers, Brent Lillibridge, Santos Rodriguez and Jon Gilmore. Over four MLB seasons, Flowers has produced a .205/.307/.388 batting line.