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Shocker: the Red Sox publicly criticize A.J. Pierzynski after cutting him

Jul 10, 2014, 8:10 AM EDT

A.J. Pierzynski Getty Images

In Boston, it’s never enough to lose and never enough to cut ties with a player who isn’t playing very well. Losing has to come with drama and departed players have to be kicked by anonymous sources as not just bad players, but bad people as they leave town. It’s just uncanny.

The latest is Rob Bradford’s piece, sourced by someone inside the Red Sox, that says A.J. Pierzynski was not just an ineffective hitter who wasn’t helping the team, he was a bad, selfish seed. He “had become such a negative influence on the team that players approached both the Sox coaches and front office to address the problem,” Bradford says. He goes on:

A microcosm of Pierzynski’s approach was mentioned by more than one of the backstop’s former teammates, who revealed his propensity to spend a significant amount of time looking at his phone while at his locker during games. In one instance, after a particularly rough outing in which the starting pitcher had been pulled early in the game, Pierzynski could be found staring at his phone while the pitcher gave off the appearance of being an emotional wreck just a few feet away. That incident paved the way to at least one complaint to management from a teammate.

Such a shocker here. I mean, it’d be one thing if Pierzynski had a nearly two-decade track record of being a low OBP guy with some pop, some fairly “meh” catching abilities and a prickly personality, but … oh, wait.

[RELATED: How will Red Sox split up catching duties now?]

I just don’t understand why this always happens with the Red Sox. Every other team in baseball manages to cut players when necessary and not have it be a big deal. In Boston, there are always knives out when people walk out the door. How the story of him being DFA’d isn’t “Pierzynski wasn’t cutting it, we aren’t winning, we have this young catcher named Vazquez who we think can really be the future of the club and we want to get him up now” is beyond me.

192 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. unclemosesgreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    There’s still time for the Dodgers to bail the Sawks out of this mess.

    • lanflfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      LA cut one cancerous, idiot catcher already, and has a plethora of low OBP guys still around (albeit without pop). No thanks.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        Aw c’mon, we’ll throw in a set of Ginzu knives, a smokeless ashtray and PTBNL.

        If you act now, we’ll throw in a genuine autographed Johnny Pesky fungo bat!

    • carpi2 - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:15 PM

      Although, the ‘Sox could really use Beckett’s help this year.

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:37 AM

        They can eat their own chicken, thank you.

  2. pisano - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    The last time they finished in last place, Bobby Valentine was the horses ass, now it’ll probably be blamed on A.J. gee you don’t think it could be the organization do ya? That entire team looks like a bunch of hobo’s.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      That’s not a nice thing to say about the poor hobos of the world.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        When they were winning last year, we used the more polite “homeless.” Now, they get the judgy “hobo.”

    • 18thstreet - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      Good grief — ARE YOU DEFENDING VALENTINE?

      They made a mistake to hire him, and they made a mistake to sign AJP. That I opposed both of these moves gives me little pleasure. Hell, I also opposed signing Victorino.

      You don’t have to live forever with your bad decisions. You’re supposed to fix your mistakes.

      • Jack Marshall - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:04 AM

        Yeah, I’ll defend Valentine. He did a lot better with a more injured and underperforming squad than Farrell has this year,in a tougher division, and had the Sox in contention into July, until they emptied the roster to the Dodgers. Name one manager who could have done better with the 2012 team. You want me to list the injured and the tanking? He was doomed, and then he was a scapegoat.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:32 AM

        I really liked how he batted Nick Punto in leadoff in, what, the third game of the season? Or was it the second? Also, calling out Youkilis — YOUKILIS! — for not working hard enough in the press. That was constructive. I mean, sure, Dustin Pedroia called him out for it in the media — but that’s just Dustin being Dustin. Typical. And pinch-hitting for Iglesias once he had two strikes on him. Way to build the kid’s confidence. Very inventive.

        No.

        He was a terrible, terrible manager. Even worse? We all knew he was a fool by watching him on Baseball Tonight and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Do you imagine he was smarter when the microphone was turned off?

  3. metitometin - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    I think in some cases, the Red Sox throwing players under the bus has been deserved. Roger Clemens acted like a putz during his final years in Boston, probably because he was on the juice, he whines about wanting to play for a contender and then he just takes the most money and goes to play in Toronto, which was not even close to being a competitive team in 1998. In that sense, Sox management had every right to badmouth Clemens on the way out. He was acting like a jerk the whole year and getting in fights with everybody. As I always say, good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      Perhaps they should date a different kind of guy.

    • ltzep75 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      To be fair, Roger was extremely out of shape his last year in Boston and didn’t turn his career around until he got to Toronto.

      • senioreditor2 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        You mean, “he didn’t turn his career around until his first injection…………..”

      • Kevin S. - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        To be fair, Roger led the league in strikeouts and threw 242 innings with a 139 ERA+, finishing third among all pitchers in fWAR and rWAR. Duquette screwed up. Badly.

    • ahrmon - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Judging by this comment, the Sox are simply playing to their mouth-breathing fanbase. So, well done I guess?

  4. redsoxchamp11 - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    This comes from within the clubhouse and frankly if its the players saying it and what is being mentioned about is true… good riddance. I won’t miss his double plays and strike outs on three pitches.

  5. sophiethegreatdane - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    I’m not sure what’s more fun — watching the sox slump into last place, or watching their fans lose their overly-entitled minds about it. Especially on this thread.

    It’s a wicked pissah, kid.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Comprehension fail. The losing we can deal with – it was our former birthright. It’s the avalanche of schadenfreude that gets us – totally foreign to us.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        I rest my case.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        You have no case. Also – get a life – get a clue – buy a vowel while you’re standing around the wheel. Way to be a dick.

      • stex52 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        Schadenfreude surprises you?

        1. You’re top dog from last year. The Australians call it “cutting down tall poppies.”

        2. Sox fan reactions to comments about their team can be a bit – shall we say – over the top at times. That makes baiting all the more fun for many people.

        I enjoy baiting my Feelies friends the most because they seem to handle it with a little more realism than most other fans.

    • deepstblu - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      “Lifelong Phillies fans closely resemble the victims of a chronic sinus condition; they sometimes feel better, but never for long.” –Roger Angell

  6. drewzducks - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Gotta give the Henry group credit for a pretty successful run. In 12 years of ownership they have 3 World Series titles and 12 consecutive Character Assassination titles.

  7. jss1330 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    He probably ate all the fired chicken

    • baberuthslegs - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      The chicken got fired?

      • historiophiliac - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        He deserved it.

      • scorpiox1960 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        He drank all the beer.

        That’s why Lackey was in a “fowl” mood the other night.

      • deepstblu - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        The chicken left droppings all over the clubhouse and was always squawking about something.

  8. Old Gator - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Uncle Mo: take a break from skirmishing for a moment and glory in the following: David Mitchell’s new novel, entitled The Bone Clock, will be out in September. If you don’t know Mitchell, he’s the guy who wrote Cloud Atlas, the first true 21st Century novel and one you gotta read if you ain’t yet.

    Speaking of 21st Century fiction, we also hear that Cormac’s just about done with The Passenger, his long rumored “New Orleans” novel, though for later in the weenter. I am informed that it will ackcherely be a two volume work, the second of which will be a Waste Land style set of annotations to the novel itself. My moles tell me that the novel is suffused with complex dynamics metaphors. I guess that’s what happens when you hang out at the Santa Fe Institute instead of the golf course.

    Mitchell will keep me happy till that one comes out.

    • stex52 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      I liked Cloud Atlas. Will look for The Bone Clock.

      With courtesy to your profession, I must say that at times I just find Cormac a little more grim than I want in my writing. At least in large doses.

      • Old Gator - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        That’s because you’re an Astros fan and there’s only so much grim a fella can take. But look on the bright side. If you had been rooting for the Cubs all this time, Anne of Green Gables would have been too dark for you.

      • stex52 - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        Touche.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        I like a bit o’grim. I thought Crime and Punishment was a great novel … until the end, when Raskolnikov’s GF, Sonya, goes into exile with him instead of staying away, hooking up with another guy, and writing a Dear John out to Siberia.

      • Old Gator - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Ah, then you would have loved Nadezhda Mandelstam’s Hope Against Hope. Dear John letters to Siberia have to be the ne plus ultra of kitsch pathos.

        Anyway, yeah, did I ever tell you about the epiphany I had reading Crime and Punishment? I discovered therein the source of Boris Badenov’s expletive “Raskalnikov! every time Rocky and Bullwinkle foiled him. The heavens parted and I heard the music of the spheres.

        Or maybe it was just the mescaline. In any case I must say that Dostoevsky and mescaline go together like conch chowder and bird pepper sauce.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Me? I just finished the Border Trilogy and I’m starting Suttree.

      Recently re-read The Dharma Bums. That’s about where I’m at.

      I’ll have to check out this Mitchell character.

      • groupofsevenrules - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        I took the Gator at his word about that book when the film version came out last year and read it over a series of long dark white nights. “Cloud Atlas” is amazing, as was Mitchell’s followup novel “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.” That one set me off on some Japanese history binge reading, too. Good to know there’s a new one coming; I have “Black Swan Green” on the nighttable too. And the film was great. It played up here for about three days, I think, and then migrated onward due to collective incomprehension. Reading the novel first definitely helps. It’s like a Rubik’s cube in some ways.

  9. jchaiss - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I guess your a POed yanks fans. Because I read a lot of hate towards the Red Sox on this site. You can always trust and an unnamed source.

    Weak reporting with strong bias. It’s sad you get paid to write trash.

    • Old Gator - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      No doubt you think it’s sadder that you don’t get paid to do it.

      • nvl004 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Old Gator….Classic!!!

      • Old Gator - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        It’s my age. Fifty years ago you would have been calling me nouveau.

  10. drewsylvania - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    The Sox do pull stupid crap like this all the time….but in this case, Pierzynski has a two-decade career of getting opponents and teammates alike to hate him.

    • kevinbnyc - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      That was my first thought. It’s not like they’re slamming a guy who was, until yesterday, universally liked. He’s always been a jerk, it’s just that his ability has slipped enough that it doesn’t have to be tolerated anymore.

    • dbar1212 - Jul 11, 2014 at 8:52 PM

      I guess that must be why he was with the White Sox for eight years and got the Good Guy Award from the Ranger’s media last year. or why the Twins wanted him back. AJ is very different on the field than he is off the field and is quiet in the clubhouse, multiple sources have said. He was not the problem and actually hit very well early in the season; certainly he hit better than some of the remaining players on the team, such as Ross or Drew.

  11. Russell Grayson - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    The Red Sux are a whiny bunch of punks when they lose–Pedroia’s a stand up guy with the best ability to be an adult on the team, but after Dustin? NOBODY who’s emotionally older than 10

    • 18thstreet - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Take THAT, David Ross!

  12. tmc602014 - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Whatever symptoms led to fried chicken & beer gate are clearly still present. The Red Sox clubhouse is a cancer on the team. Or maybe just a grease stain.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      Timely joke, man. Good stuff.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Yeah, it’s almost like shenanigans get re-interpreted as being colorful (or ignored entirely) when a team’s winning.

  13. mikhelb - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Curiously the fans opinion on players who get cut, as soon as those “anonymous” sources talk, suddenly changes from “he was a good element on the team, he tried his best but it was not enough” to “he was a cancer who should be locked away at Guantanamo getting his liberties violated as he violated internal rules of the clubhouse”… or even worse.

    And 5-10 years from now fans will forget how they treated players, as they do not remember right now how bad they treated Clemens when he had to go (somebody they really hate because he was successful away from beantown), same for Boggs and others with lesser accomplishments as redsox.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      I take great offense to the idea that I, for one, have not hated AJP no matter where he was playing. The fans never, ever warmed up to the guy, but I can only speak for myself.

      And I’d argue that we Sox fans all remember everything that Roger Clemens ever did, much like a stalker ex-girlfriend hiding in the bushes. It’s not healthy, but we remember all of it.

  14. tmc602014 - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    I keep thinking about this, and the dysfunction of office politics in every walk of life – I get that AJ was never a popular guy and all that, but all of the players know they live in a fishbowl, so to say these things anonymously is really low class. Many people in public life say stupid things then apologize or back off, but to do this without attribution means that person already realizes he’d get creamed, and can’t face up to it. It’s just plain chicken. Or maybe just plain chicken and beer.

  15. punksinplay - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    The guy has always been a jerk. The Red Sox can’t claim they didn’t know it beforehand.

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