Update: Pierzynski's deal with the Red Sox is valued at $8.25 million for one year, reports Buster Olney of ESPN. The contract is pending a physical.
In Pierzynski, the Red Sox will receive one of the most sturdy backstops in the game. He has not played fewer than 128 games in a season since 2001, when he was in his first full year with the Twins. For a catcher, that is a remarkable achievement.
In 2013, Pierzynski hit .272/.297/.425. His 17 home runs are the third-highest number of his career. He had his best year at the plate two seasons ago: With the White Sox he hit .278/.326/.501 with career-highs in OPS and homers (27). That was the only year he has ever topped 20 home runs. He is also regarded as a top-notch defender with above-average game calling skills.
Pierzynski, 36, played on a one-year deal in Texas for the 2013 season, earning $7.5 million. His new deal in Boston fits what the Red Sox are trying to do this offseason--they appear unwilling to hand out more than two years to any free agent. The team has two young catching prospects in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez and was looking to bridge the gap to when they would be ready for the majors.
The move almost certainly signals an end to the Jarrod Saltalamacchia era in Boston. Saltalamacchia had been the team's starting catcher for the past three years, however he was looking for a three- or four-year deal, something the Red Sox were unwilling to give him. Boston did offer a two-year contract to Saltalamacchia earlier in the offseason, but he turned them down.
The Red Sox search for a new catcher had been ongoing through much of the season as they had been connected with the likes of Brian McCann and Dioner Navarro, both of whom have already found new teams. Though there had been rumors that they were looking into nearly every catcher on the market, they never appeared close to a deal until Tuesday.