Norristown native Mike Piazza is leaning toward signing with the hometown nine or the Oakland A's, according to major-league sources cited by FOXSports scribe Ken Rosenthal. [Link]
The 38-year-old catcher hit 283/.342/.501 for the Padres last season with 22 homers and 68 RBIs in 399 at-bats. He was a much better hitter on the road, logging a .935 OPS.
Beerleaguer: Mike Piazza isn't a guy we've talked about a whole lot. Oddly enough, as much as I’ve pimped Carlos Ruiz, and rejoiced in Chris Coste’s surprise season, I see Big Mike as a championship-caliber addition for next season’s Phillies. Even with limited time behind the plate, he could see significant action, give Ryan Howard an occasional blow against tough left-handers, and serve as a mighty pinch-hitter on any given night. He’s an exciting offensive player and kills left-handers, which is an area the team is generally deficient. Along with third baseman Wes Helms, who signed last week, Piazza would mean that problem is on its way to being fixed.
With the potential for big lumber out of an unexpected source, it could mean the kiss of death for outfielder Pat Burrell, whose value may be on the rise for teams that missed out on Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee. Indications are the Phillies are trying to trade him no matter what, and if he's moved, and Piazza is added, the Phils may opt for a defense/speed outfield.
How this would impact Ruiz and Coste is anyone's guess. It's likely one of them would still see the lion's share of starts behind the plate, which could favor the younger Ruiz.