The Cardinals have signed AJ Pierzynski and he will join the team today in Chicago.
The dude is controversial. And he likes it that way. His nickname? Captain Chaos. His former manager Ozzie Guillén’s feelings about AJ? I paraphrase here: When you play against him, you hate him. When you play with him, you hate him a little bit less.
So why? Let’s see if we can’t figure this out…
THEORY 1: Mo is punishing any and all writers/sports pundits for their incessant chatter about the Cardinals under achievement in 2014 by acquiring only players with difficult names to spell. Oh, you got the hang of Kottaras a little too easy? Have you some Pierzynski.
THEORY 2: The Cardinals don’t have any bite. The ‘stars’ on this team are either introverts (Molina, Holliday) or goofballs (Wainwright) that just aren’t grasping the fact that 2014 is slipping away.
With 4 World Series appearances in the past 10 years, it’s easy to forget that even a great franchise can go on long post-season droughts. ’87 to ’04 anyone? Pierzynski isn’t afraid to remind everyone that windows are finite and it’s time to quit pissing this one away.
THEORY 3: Pierzynski is a career 26.7 oWAR and 8.2 dWAR catcher who is definitely in the twilight of his career… but is probably still a slight upgrade over Tony Cruz and certainly is an upgrade over George Kottaras.
Mix in the fact that he’s only owed a prorated portion of his ’14 contract and the Cardinals didn’t have to surrender anything for him? Makes it worth the minimal gamble.
THEORY 4: The Cardinals have gone full Vader.
Chicago is not too fond of Pierzynski (more the South Siders, but still). Boston cut Pierzynski and smeared him on the way out. Where are the Cardinals this weekend? Who do they have coming to town soon? They know that baseball and its fans are turning on the Cardinal Way. Like Skip Bayless, they’ve embraced the hate because…
THEORY 5: The Cardinals are messin’ with Matheny’s head.
I’m far too lazy to go and figure out the raw data, but tangentially it seems that the Matheny haters have grown in numbers the past couple of months. His refusal to keep Oscar Taveras in the line-up and disaster of a game yesterday have only added more anger to the chorus.
Signing an outspoken player that played the skip’s former position? Whom the skip played against? That’s some classic cage rattling right there.
We’re not going to get the truth from the Cardinals this season. And honestly? They probably think of this as a very low cost/medium reward stop-gap until Molina comes back in September. A temporary tourniquet on a blood hemorrhaging season.
One thing is for certain though: if you didn’t think the Cardinals were hated before. They are now.