The Yankees are hesitant to sign the free agent catcher due to perceiving him as only average defensively, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
#yankees hesitating on pierzynski because they view him as only average defender. AJ had big yr but market a mystery— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 8, 2012
Now faced with finding a replacement, it would seem doubtful general manager Brian Cashman would turn to career backups Eli Whiteside, Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli or prospect Austin Romine, who is hardly ready for the major leagues after losing much of last season to injury.
Coming off a career season offensively, A.J. Pierzynski and his left-handed swing would appear to be a logical fit for Yankee Stadium. The 35 year-old catcher hit .278/.326/.501 last season with 27 home runs and 77 RBI.
One aspect of his game that can’t be called into question is his durability behind the plate, having averaged 130-plus games since 2002.
Pierzynski becomes the top free agent catcher available with Mike Napoli now off the market, which could enhance his asking price moving forward.
Given the Yankees publicly proclaimed desire to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014 makes it more likely that Cashman will start the season with a catcher currently on the major league roster, but signing Pierzynski to a two-year deal and allowing Romine to grow into the role in the minors or as his backup would seem ideal.