You'll remember last winter when the Twins tried to bring back A.J. Pierzynski and had to "settle" for Kurt Suzuki.
Sometimes it's best to get your second choice.
Pierzynski signed a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox, and was released from that contract Wednesday. The defending World Series champions are struggling and felt that they had no more use for Pierzynski, who was sent from the Twins to San Francisco 11 years ago in the trade that brought Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano to Minnesota.
The official view was expressed by Red Sox manager John Farrell in this Boston Globe article: “It’s important to note that where we are today is not pinning this on A.J. by any means. We felt like there was a player ready to step in that we wanted to get valuable time this year as we move forward."
"This" is the drop to last place that the Red Sox have accomplished, falling 11 games under .500 and owning an ever worse record than the Twins at this point.
The ground-level view was expressed by columnist Rob Bradford on radio station WEEI's web site in a piece headlined: "The A.J. Pierzynski problem was worse than anybody could have imagined."
Bradford wrote: "According to multiple sources within the Red Sox clubhouse, Pierzynski had become such a negative influence on the team that players approached both the Sox coaches and front office to address the problem. The common theme expressed was the catcher's seeming indifference toward his teammates and the common goals of the same organization that had relied on an all-for-one approach when winning the 2013 World Series."
Remember, this is the club that went through the chicken-and-beer controversy during games in 2011, which was seen as one of the causes for the team blowing a late-season lead in the American League East. The team had fully rebounded from that silliness and it appears that players weren't going to allow anything resembling that indifference to return to their clubhouse.
More from Bradford: "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 the Globe's story, Boston general manager Ben Cherington said, “Nothing else happened with A.J. that we were surprised by."
In his WEEI column, Bradford reminded readers that Pierzynski had turned down a two-year deal with the Twins to sign for one year with Boston, and wrote: "It became obvious to those in the clubhouse fairly early on that this might be an oil-and-water situation. Pierzynski's personality wasn't conducive to the Red Sox' way of doing things, saying what he wanted when he wanted without much regard for the greater good."
There's more from Bradford, and you can read it here.