I know we don't do too many of these super opinion-based posts here, but I came across this story on MLBTR and felt compelled to make a response. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Rangers inquired on the availability of A.J. Pierzynski, the White Sox's everyday catcher. It's nothing more than a rumor, but the tidbit takes particular significance between Pierzynski attains 10-5 rights in four weeks, meaning that he can (and has said he will) exercise a no-trade clause over all teams.
Now, as a Chicagoan, I've come to like A.J. a lot. Not so much because he's a nice guy or anything, but because he also seemed to do whatever it took to win, and he was a big part of finally bringing a World Series trophy to Illinois. Pierzynski was pretty solid behind the plate in his first five years on the Sox, averaging 1.9 fWAR per year, making him a roughly average player over the course of his tenure. Most teams would kill to have that kind of consistent production from the game's weakest position, so it's understandable that Pierzynski has been on the South Siders for so long in spite of his seemingly prickly attitude.
Despite this, I have something to say to Kenny Williams if he's reading (he's not), and it's fairly simple: let the Rangers take Pierzynski. If they're interested, and they're willing to take on money, let them take him. Hell, if the White Sox can get a prospect in return, too, then great. But Pierzynski is really in the way of letting Chicago put their best team on the field.
Because that best team includes Tyler Flowers, and he's currently wallowing away in Triple-A. He's 24, he's a catcher, and he's had at least an .838 OPS at every level of the minor league ladder. He's currently got a .257/.358/.543 line in Triple-A, flashing his impressive combination of power and plate discipline. His glove is admittedly nothing special, but he's progressed enough defensively that most scouts believe that he can at least be adequate at the position for a few years.
The White Sox are losing ground fast, and need consistent contributors to help out a streaky offense. They've given far too many at-bats to the likes of Pierzynski, Mark Kotsay, Omar Vizquel and Juan Pierre. Right now, their entire offense for 2010 has essentially consisted of Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Andruw Jones. Flowers is almost assuredly one of the organization's best hitters at the moment, and his performance in Triple-A shows that he has little left to learn at that level.
Chicago needs to improve in places where they can, and catcher is clearly one of those spots. They can hold out and hope that Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez and Mark Teahen improve, because the internal alternatives aren't really all that clear. But not at catcher, it's not the same situation. Pierzynski has been a black hole there, and Flowers continues to give a plethora of reasons for why he should be playing everyday in the majors.
Very rarely can teams find opportunities to not only save money but to improve their on-field product at the same time. When the Rangers called up the White Sox to discuss Pierzynski, that may have been one of those chances for Chicago.