The Braves are bringing back catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Reports out of the general manager’s meetings in Florida have Atlanta signing him to a one-year contract.
Pierzynski, who turns 39 on December 30, hit .300 last year for the Braves in 407 at bats, with nine home runs, 49 runs batted in, 24 doubles and a .339 on base percentage. He was originally signed to be the backup for rookie Christian Bethancourt, but when Bethancourt fell out of favor with manager Fredi Gonzalez Pierzynski stepped up and was the primary catcher for Atlanta in 2015.
Pierzynski was actually better in the second half of the season, as he hit .321 compared to the .283 batting average he had in the first half of the season. As a starter, Pierzynski hit .296.
It is not known whether the Braves plan for Pierzynski to once again try and be the backup to Bethancourt, or if they will try to acquire another option at the position as the starter. Might they think they can get away with Pierzynski as the main starter again?
Bethancourt hit .200 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 155 at bats. Will the Braves give him another chance? If so, Pierzynski will be a very big insurance policy.
The Braves are likely to bring in another catcher at some point, even if it’s on a minor league contract with a major league invite.