Bag-Packing Paulino

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. kicked off his tenure with two under the radar moves: trading Greg Golson for John Mayberry, Jr., and sending Jason Jaramillo to the Pirates for Ronnie Paulino. Paulino, formerly the Pirates starter, fell out of favor with the team thanks to a perceived poor work ethic as well as the emergence of Ryan Doumit. After two seasons of league average production or better, Paulino’s abysmal .260 wOBA in 40 games and questionable defense made him very expendable. Amaro wanted to create some competition for Chris Coste in camp and felt that Paulino would be more major-league ready than youngster Lou Marson.

The idea somewhat backfired, as both Coste and Paulino stunk up the batters box this spring, leaving Coste with the backup position largely due to the familiarity factor. Paulino once again became expendable, and in needing to fill the void left by JC Romero’s 50-game suspension, Amaro sent Paulino to San Francisco for lefty reliever Jack Taschner, a questionable move in and of itself given that Taschner has been hit around pretty well by lefties over the last two seasons.

Paulino would not be able to settle down by the bay, however, as the Giants quickly shipped him to the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Hector Correa. Correa, just 21, has shown an ability to miss bats but will need to harness his control to truly be an effective major league pitcher. This was not a 3-team trade, at least officially, but could very well have been the transaction equivalent to an unintentional intentional walk.

The Phillies get a lefty reliever to fill in for Romero; the Giants get a young pitching prospect; and the Marlins get a backup catcher. Unfortunately, the Marlins starter, John Baker, is more suited for backup duty himself. The Marlins had been after Chris Coste for most of the offseason but ended up with the other Phillies backup catcher. I have to wonder if Taschner would be any sort of an upgrade over merely slotting J.A. Happ into the second lefty role (behind Scott Eyre until Romero returns) and giving Chan Ho Park the fifth starter spot. Amaro has hinted that the team might carry all three of Eyre, Taschner, and Happ, but that seems unlikely.

Maybe Taschner will flourish in this role, and Paulino will reestablish himself as a solid catcher, but these moves do not really appear to provide upgrades for any of the teams involved.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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Given that Paulino was either redundant or useless, I think Taschner is a reasonable pick-up for the Phils. He’s a below average pitcher, but not below replacement level IMO. If you believe in DIPS, Taschner’s failures against LHB are all about BABIP. I think it is largely related to which lefties Taschner faces vs. which righties he faces. Most LOOGYs only get to pitch against easy RHB and pitch more often against good LHB. As a result, their splits understate the difference in their abilities. The BABIP difference (if you believe in DIPS, and believe this is a hitter skill primarily) further indicates this difference. Taschner pitched a lot against Adrian Gonzalez and Brad Hawpe recently– both good LHB. Even still, his K/BB numbers indicate he’ll be better against LHB than the rest of the Phillies options before the 8th inning.

Career K/BB vs LHB:

Taschner: 2.19

Lidge: 2.79
Romero: 2.17
Madson: 2.91
Durbin: 1.47
Condrey: 1.19
Eyre: 1.89