Cheap Seats

Pierzynski move is a high-risk gamble

The St. Louis Cardinals signing of former Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski more than raises a few eyebrows.

It reeks of desperation.

As the Redbirds lost their fourth game in a row Friday afternoon, apparently, general manager John Mozeliak panicked and decided he needed to do something -- anything -- to shake this club up.

What he came up with was signing an over the hill player with a terrible reputation as a teammate. 

Pierzynski had a pretty good bat for a catcher a few years back when he was with the Chicago White Sox. His hitting ability made his terrible attitude acceptable for a team that was always on the periphery of contention.

Now he's 37 and can't hit like he once did. But the nasty attitude remains. It was so bad that Boston decided it would prefer to eat Pierzynski's contract than keep him around. And when the Red Sox cut him loose, his former teammates vocally celebrated the decision.

So why would Mo add such a controversial player to the mix at this point? Some people think a little roughness around the edges might cause some spark for the lackluster Cardinals. But Pierzynski isn't exactly the sort of guy who makes things uncomfortable by getting in the face of rookies who don't hustle. He's more of the sit in the clubhouse during the game and chill out with his headphones on instead of cheering on his teammates sort of irritating.

Is that the sort of example the Birds want around their young players.

Sure Pierzynski was cheap. But that doesn't mean there is no risk to adding him to the roster. To make room, the Cardinals had to part ways with recently-acquired backstop George Kottaras. 

Kottaras was content to be the back-up. Pierzynski got chased out of Boston because he wasn't. If Pierzynski doesn't play well enough to be the starter, the Cardinals might find themselves with an unwanted distraction in the clubhouse. And there will be little they can do to resolve the problem other than wait for All-Star catcher Yadier Molina to come back from thumb ligament surgery.

Yes, the Cardinals could use a shake up. But, while St. Louis has had smoldering troubles all season, I am afraid Pierzynski's spark could be the thing that causes the team to finally blow up.