The A.J. Pierzynski era is over in Chicago. After spending eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox, the veteran backstop has reportedly signed a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Texas Rangers in free agency. Pierzynski played through his prime years in Chicago and hit .279/.318/.424 in a White Sox uniform. His most impressive numbers came during his final season with the Sox, as he hit .278/.326/.501 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI in 2012 (at age 35).
Pierzynski has spent the majority of his 14-year MLB career in a White Sox uniform, so it's interesting to think back on how he will be remembered by fans and members of the organization. The irascible veteran came up with plenty of big moments during his time with the Sox, but there's no doubt that his marquee moment came during the ninth inning of Game 2 against the Angels in the 2005 ALCS. A.J. forced umpire Doug Eddings into a difficult uncaught third-strike rule call when he raced to first after whiffing on a third strike in a tie game. The Sox eventually won that game when the pinch runner for Pierzynski (Pablo Ozuna) came home on a Joe Crede double. The Sox went on to win the series 4-1 over the Angles, and they finished the year as World Series Champions.
As for other notable moments, A.J. was behind the plate when Mark Buehrle pitched a no-hitter in 2007, and also when Philip Humber tossed a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners in 2012. At CSN-Chicago, there is a great video recapping Pierzynski's time with the club:
In 2013, Chicago will likely turn to 26-year-old catcher Tyler Flowers as the primary starter behind the plate. Over four MLB seasons, Flowers has produced a .205/.307/.388 batting line, but he's hoping fans give him a fair chance to show he deserves to start:
Flowers on his new role: "It's an interesting situation where the [White Sox] fans and the city, I don't think they are too happy..."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) December 21, 2012
..I hope I get a fair chance, not just from the organization but also from the fan base, to show I'm capable of catching....— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) December 21, 2012