(CBS) – White Sox general manager Rick Hahn didn’t sugar coat it.
The decision to part ways with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski after eight seasons was a difficult one, but it was one that needed to be made.
“It did get to the point where we felt two things,” Hahn told The Mully and Hanley Show on Friday. “One, we believe in Tyler Flowers. We feel that we are not going to lose anything defensively. He is outstanding at calling a game, at catching and throwing. Our pitchers love throwing to him. And, offensively, this is a guy who, while he’s different from A.J., he is going to strike out more, the average is going to be a bit lower in all probability, he’s still really good at taking a walk and hitting for power to all fields. … Two, we had priorities that we felt were a little more pressing – that being the pitching staff, that being third base. It really came down to prioritizing things. … It was difficult. It was honestly difficult.
Pierzynski came to the White Sox in 2004 and was a key factor in the team’s World Series championship from 2005. Now, Paul Konerko is the last remaining member from that historic team.
“It absolutely is sad,” Hahn admitted. “Those guys, all the guys from ’05, shoot, I get excited when I see Chris Widger and Neal Cotts. That’s how special all those guy from ’05 are to me. Much less a guy like A.J. who has been so important to our organization for eight years. I don’t think any of us, maybe with the exception of Hawk when we signed A.J. coming off the non-tender eight years ago, thought that it was going to work out the way it did for both sides. It was a tremendous relationship and it’s difficult to see him go, much less an ’05 guy go.”