The Mariners Friday signed veteran catcher Ronny Paulino to a minor league contract, a deal that carries with it an invitation to major league spring training. Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik made the announcement, which brings to 19 the number of players the Mariners have invited to camp.
That breaks down to 11 pitchers (RHP – 9, LHP – 2), four catchers and four infielders. This is in addition to the current 40-man roster.
Mariners pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Peoria, AZ., Feb. 12 (first workout Feb. 13) and position players report Feb. 15 (first full-squad workout Feb. 16).
Paulino, 31, split last season between Baltimore and AAA Norfolk. In 20 games with the Orioles, he batted .254 (16×63) with three doubles and five RBIs. Over parts of eight major league seasons with the Pirates (2005-2008), Marlins (2009-10), Mets (2011) and Orioles (2012), Paulino has appeared in 573 games with a .272 batting average. Against left-handed pitchers he is a career .325 (196×604) hitter with a .844 OPS.
Defensively. Paulino has thrown out 29% of attempted base stealers (132 of 452) at the major league level. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic was originally signed by Pittsburgh as a non-drafted free agent Dec. 29, 1997.
The Mariners assigned Paulino jersey #27.
Not a game-changer but not a bad signing, either.
Paulino generally hits between .250 and .275 (he did hit .310 as a starter for Pittsburgh in 2006)with some gap power. At 6’3″ and 250 pounds, though, I wouldn’t expect any stolen bases or stretching singles into doubles. As a fielder, he’s pretty average, although pitchers in Pittsburgh apparently loved working with him. Won’t nail a lot of guys stealing (although Jaso at 20% has been a lot worse) but he won’t give up a lot of passed balls either.
In the final analysis, this IS a minor league contract for a 31-year-old veteran catcher whose best days are likely behind him but could make the Seattle roster out of Peoria. At best, he’s a upgrade from Olivo as a backup to Montero and a decent PH vs. lefties. At worst, he’s released or sent to Tacoma. No risk involved, no players given up for him.
then there’s this from Stone:
Paulino was suspended for 50 games in 2010, while with the Marlins, for violating MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs, for which he blamed a diet pill.
50games? Probably not “a diet pill”?
Gotta admit that when an MLB catcher weighs 250 pounds, he’s not a sure bet to be taking diet pills.