The A.J. Pierzynski Era on the South Side has come to an end.
Pierzynski reportedly agreed on a one-year deal with Texas worth $7.5 million.
He had been drawing interest from both Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees but then reportedly visited with the Rangers a week after the Winter Meetings.
The Sox initially offered Pierzynski a one-year deal in the $2 million to $3 million range, which was basically a slap in the face considering the veteran was coming off a career year in which he hit 27 homers, drove in 77 runs and had a .278 batting average and an .827 OPS.
Like they have done with many of their free agents the past four years, the Sox started with a low offer and waited to see what the market did. They hoped to have another opportunity to meet or beat the offer or simply decide to let the player walk like they did with Mark Buehrle.
The interesting part of the Pierzynski dilemma was that there seemed to be a torn house on how important he was to the Sox.
Pitching coach Don Cooper has never been a huge fan of Pierzynski, mostly because of his personality, and not what he does behind the plate. The two have had their moments, and Cooper said five years ago, “I should get a bonus just for having to work with him.”
There are others on the baseball side of things who felt Pierzynski would be willing to take a bit of a discount to stay in Chicago. While he isn’t the best at throwing out baserunners, his ability to call a game and his left-handed bat will be hard to replace.
Pierzynski now will play for manager Ron Washington, who gave him the All-Star snub last season.
Pirates, Liriano agree to deal
Pitcher Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates have reached agreement on a two-year, $14 million contract with the Pirates, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Liriano, 29, split time between the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox last season. He was traded to the White Sox in late July for two minor leaguers.
The left-hander finished the 2012 season with a combined 6-12 record and a 5.34 ERA with 87 walks and 167 strikeouts in 34 games and 156 2/3 innings.
Liriano has a career record of 53-54 with an 4.42 ERA in seven major-league seasons, all with the Twins before going to the White Sox in 2012.
Twins sign righty Harden
The Twins signed right-hander Rich Harden on Friday to a minor-league contract with an invitation to their major-league camp in spring training.
Harden, 31, will attempt a comeback from rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder last Jan. 31 that sidelined him for the 2012 season.
In other Twins news, left-hander Scott Diamond had surgery Tuesday to remove a bone chip from his left elbow but expects to be recovered in time for spring training.
McGehee to play in Japan
Free-agent third baseman Casey McGehee, whose numbers have declined since his productive 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, has agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million deal to play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese baseball league, according to the Japanese site Sankei.
Rakuten also signed former Major League All-Star Andruw Jones recently.
Cubs sign Schierholtz
The Chicago Cubs announced Friday they have finalized a one-year, $2.25 million deal with outfielder Nate Schierholtz.
Schierholtz, 28, batted .257 with six home runs for the Giants and Phillies in 2012.
In other Cubs moves, left-handed pitcher Gerardo Concepcion cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Class A Kane County. Also, left-handed pitcher Jeff Beliveau, who was the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the year in 2011, was claimed off waivers by the Rangers, and right-handed pitcher Sandy Rosario claimed by the Giants.