The Braves have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, according to a report from Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The deal was actually first mentioned by Aaron Lunsford, who claims that Braves' manager Fredi Gonzalez told his dad about the signing at Honeybaked Ham this morning. Seriously.
Pierzynski, who turns 38 on Tuesday, will provide veteran depth behind Christian Bethancourt, who is expected to take over as the Braves' starting catcher with Evan Gattis being used as the team's everyday left-fielder. Atlanta expressed interest in a reunion with David Ross earlier this winter, but had to go in a different direction once Ross agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs.
Pierzynski joins Atlanta after a tough year with the Red Sox and Cardinals, in which he hit a combined .251/.288/.337 with just five home runs in 102 games. He took some of the blame for disharmony in the Red Sox' clubhouse early on in the season, and was released despite signing an $8.25 million deal with the team before the season.
For his career, Pierzynski is a lifetime .281/.320/.424 hitter with 177 home runs and 837 RBI in seventeen major-league seasons with the Twins (1998-2003), Giants (2004), White Sox (2005-2012), Rangers (2013), Red Sox (2014) and Cardinals (2014). He was an All-Star on two occasions; in 2002 and 2006.