Hours before Kevin Youkilis signed with the New York Yankees on Tuesday a report surfaced that the Texas Rangers have interest in A.J. Pierzynski.
And while the White Sox have stated repeatedly this offseason that they wanted to retain both free agents, the teams interest has always been at their own limit.
In other words: wed like you back, but only at this price.
On Tuesday, Youkilis signed a one-year, 12-million deal with the Yankees.
The White Sox had constant dialogue with Youkilis agent, Joe Bick, through the winter meetings last week when they signed Jeff Keppinger to a three-year deal for 12 million.
But even though general manager Rick Hahn had several discussions with Bick and parameters were discussed, the two sides never came close to a deal, according to a baseball source. The White Sox knew where Youkilis stood and Bick was aware what the club had in mind. No further negotiations took place after the White Sox informed Bick they intended to go to their backup plan.
With Tyler Flowers in place and limited payroll available, the White Sox have clearly demonstrated to Pierzynskis agent, Steve Hilliard, theyre prepared to move forward without the veteran.
After Keppingers deal and between 7-8 million in raises due to Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo, the team is closing in fast on last seasons 109 million payroll.
The White Sox would dearly miss Pierzynskis left-handed bat and likely would need to replace him. They also would miss the certainty of a catcher who has averaged 133 12 games the past eight seasons.
But Flowers has 20-homer potential, is a better defender and comes at a cheaper price.
Though Hahn said the White Sox have had very open and honest talks with Hilliard, the likelihood is the discussion is similar to those of Youkilis: heres our offer, take it or leave it.
After he took a discounted salary the last time he was a free agent, Pierzynski wants a fair deal in what could be his last contract. Even though interest in Pierzynski this offseason hasnt been overwhelming, his projected salary, especially after he hit a career-high 27 home runs last season, is far more than the White Sox likely want to pay with Flowers in the fold.
Though theres interest in Pierzynskis return, it might not be long before a report surfaces about the catchers departure.