A brief note on A.J. Pierzynski

Several Mets fans have suggested to me they’d like to see the team sign A.J. Pierzynski. Assuming that would require a multi-year deal or even a lucrative one-year deal, it’s just not a good idea.

Here's what A.J. Pierzynski (right) looks like. As you may know, Pierzynski hit 27 home runs last year. As you may also know, regression to the mean is a extraordinarily powerful force in baseball, and Pierzynski has never before been as good as he was at age 35 in 2012.

In fact, using park- and league-adjusted OPS+, Pierzynski’s 96 career mark in the stat is actually one point lower than Josh Thole’s rate from 2009-2011. Thole fell apart offensively after returning from a concussion in 2012, but if he can return to form, it’s at least even money he’ll be a better hitter than Pierzynski in 2013. And Thole is a full decade younger than Pierzynski.

Oh, and by the best efforts of those who evaluate catcher defense, Pierzynski was actually worse than Thole behind the plate in 2012. And 2011. And 2010.

Teams with financial limitations and almost no outfielders to speak of should not hand out big contracts to 36-year-old catchers coming off the best seasons of their careers.

If Pierzynski hit right-handed and came cheap, he might fit as a platoon partner for Thole. But since Pierzynski and Thole both hit left-handed, the Mets would be paying a premium to displace a 26-year-old who hit like a league average catcher from 2009 to 2011 in favor of a 36-year-old who hit like a league average catcher from 2009 to 2011. If Thole can bounce back and the team can find a suitable right-handed complement, it should be able to get at least the production Pierzynski would provide at the catcher position and dedicate the resources that would be required to sign him toward outfielders.

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