Once Russell Martin opted to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates in November, the New York Yankees were left without a starting catcher. Despite the hole in New York's roster, the Yankees are hesitant to pursue the market's best available free agent catcher, AJ Pierzynski.
Though Pierzynski could replace Martin's offensive production in New York's lineup, the Yankees are hesitating because they view the 35 year-old catcher as only an average defender, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Pierzynski hit .278 with a career-high 27 home runs and 77 RBI last season with the Chicago White Sox. He's also proven to be successful in postseason play, hitting .300 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 30 career playoff games, compared to Martin who had just two home runs, 10 RBI and a .200 batting average in 33 career postseason games.
If the Yankees pass on Pierzynski, they could turn their attention to in-house options. Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, and Austin Romine are all on the roster and expected to join the team for spring training, though Stewart and Cervelli are better suited as back ups because of their lack of home run power and Romine is still unproven in the Majors.
The Yankees are looking to lower the team's payroll under $189 million by the start of the 2014 season, so Pierzynski would likely have to sign a one-year deal to land in the Bronx. However, the veteran catcher may be willing to accept because of the limited interest he's drawn this offseason.
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