Behind A.J. Pierzynski's All-Star snub

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Behind A.J. Pierzynski's All-Star snub

Ron Washington sounded apologetic when speaking to reporters about not selecting A.J. Pierzynski to the American League roster for this month's All-Star Game. But Pierzynski wasn't buying what Washington was selling.

If (Washington) felt that bad he would have put me on the team, Pierzynski said Sunday. He had an opportunity to do it and he didnt do it. Obviously he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didnt feel that bad.

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli won the fan vote and will start, while Wieters was voted in by fellow players and Mauer was selected by Washington.

Washington needed to select someone from Minnesota, with Mauer and Josh Willingham being prime candidates. But all of the AL outfield reserves -- Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout -- deserved their spot on the team. Willingham could've DH'd, but Kansas City needed a representative, and that went to Billy Butler. Adam Dunn earned the other DH spot.

What it came down to was that someone from the White Sox was going to be snubbed. Had Willingham made the roster, it would've been Dunn. But with Mauer making it, it was Pierzynski.

Pierzynski's best shot was to beat out Wieters for the player vote. No doubt Wieters' hot start to the season -- when plenty of perceptions are formed -- played a part in him winning it, as well as Pierzynski's reputation around the league. In a survey of MLB players published by Men's Journal last month, Pierzynski was voted as the most hated player in the league.

Statistically, though, he stacks up very well against his fellow junior circuit catchers (asterisks denote highestbest stat among these four players, and all stats are of Sunday):

StatPierzynskiNapoliWietersMauerG68697170BA.285.235.249.324OBP.331.335.331.414SLG.512.438.440.445OPS122101109140HR1412114RBI45303836CS30193613WAR2.20.92.02.5
Mauer absolutely deserves to be an All-Star, as he leads the AL in OBP. But Pierzynski leads in all the power categories, which certainly could merit a trip to Kansas City. A half-win difference between Pierzynski, Mauer and Wieters is negligible; there's a legitimate case to be made for all that they're the best catcher in the AL -- especially Pierzynski and Mauer.

So what really messed things up for Pierzynski was Napoli beating out Mauer for the starting spot. Had Mauer won that, chances are Washington would've gone with Pierzynski as his third catcher, even though Napoli's his guy.

Unfortunately for Pierzynski, what may wind up being his best season in a White Sox uniform won't be recognized with an All-Star bid -- at least, for now, since an injury to Mauer, Napoli or Wieters almost certainly would get Pierzynski to Kauffman Stadium.

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.