Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

A.J. Pierzynski's future with the Sox is up in the air

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Seattle+Mariners+v+Chicago+White+Sox+8kGflx7A5IWl.jpgAfter about five minutes of questions concerning his future, A.J. Pierzynski finally glanced at the media surrounding him and said, "You guys are talking like there's no chance I'm coming back. Apparently, you guys know something that I don't know, so fill me in.''
Actually, there isn't much to fill in. Not yet, at least.
The White Sox catcher is a free agent after the season, and the organization is set to cut some payroll before adding to the roster for the 2011 run. There had been growing speculation that the Sox were looking to do next year's product on the cheap and hope for the best, but according to one member of the organization, general manager Ken Williams might have a few tricks up his sleeve - and a few more bucks than first thought - going after a division title in '11 before they feel like they may have to take a step back and go younger in 2012.
Whether or not that involves Pierzynski, however, remains cloudy.
Victor Martinez headlines the free agent catcher class, but will cost an arm and a leg. After him, a lot of retreads. As far as in-house replacements, there's Tyler Flowers, but a lot of questions surrounding the rookie. The first being, are the Sox ready to hand a veteran staff over to him?
"It's hard for me to say anything about the kid, good or bad, because I don't have a chance to see him at all,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said of Flowers. "Even Kenny in Fall League or Minor League or Instructional League or Spring Training, it's different from being here.''
But if they felt like Flowers was the catcher for 2011, they would seemingly be playing him a lot more than they have since his September call-up.
As far as Pierzynski, Guillen made his feelings on his catcher very obvious on Tuesday.
"I know people say that they won the World Championship here once,'' Guillen explained, talking about both Pierzynski and free agent to be Paul Konerko. "They do more than that. When you win a championship, you were good one year. But those guys have been very good for a long time and very consistent. They go there every day and play the right way. People love those guys here.
"It's a decision. Whatever decision, it's not easy. When you are making a decision, you think about money. The owner of the team, you talk about money. But when you talk about playing favorites, it's a hard decision to make. I can't be an owner or GM. I would lose a lot of money because I would sign people with my heart and not my brains. Every decision we make since I've been here is to make this organization better.''
Since spring training, Pierzynski has made it very clear where he would like to be, not only next season, but where he would like to end his career.
"Everyone knows where I stand with the White Sox and the people and the city,'' Pierzynski said. "I've never said that I don't want to come back. The door is open. But we'll see what happens. It takes two to do that, make it possible. We'll see where it goes.
"I came here. I told this story many times. I signed and walked into SoxFest a week later. Coming from the Twins, it was weird to see the White Sox stuff. To see them welcome me the way they did and everything they've done in the time I've been here has been amazing, awesome. I'll always look back on my time in Minnesota, look back on my time here is great and we won a World series and done all we could do here. I'd like to stay here to continue to do that, but we'll see what happens.''
Pierzynski said he would also like to come back to a team that he feels is still committed to winning. The Sox are expected to remain loaded in the starting pitching department, and the addition of Chris Sale to either the rotation or bullpen for a full year could add to that depth.
"They've got all the talent in the world - Gavin [Floyd], John [Danks]. Sergio [Santos], Chris Sale, the White Sox pitching is very deep and they have the opportunity to be very special for a long time because they're young, they they're all healthy and they're able to win games and they all have good stuff,'' Pierzynski said. "And they all have good heads on their shoulders, which is the biggest thing.
"I was proud to say that I was able to play with them and hopefully be able to play with them.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on September 28, 2010 8:28 PM.

Ozzie Guillen: 'I will be back with the White Sox next year ... ' was the previous entry in this blog.

Buehrle talks 2011, plus Guillen talks Q and Beckham is the next entry in this blog.

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