For the last few weeks, the Phillies and newly appointed GM Ruben Amaro, Jr, have been linked to numerous different players and scenarios. They were apparently considered a frontrunner for Derek Lowe before a new report revealed they haven’t even put together a formal offer. The defending champs were also reportedly involved in a proposed three-team trade that would finally end the Jake Peavy trade saga. With Chase Utley out for, most likely, at least one month, they have also been linked to players like Nick Punto and the recently-signed Mark Loretta. On top of that, they have to decide whether or not to bring back Pat Burrell and/or Jamie Moyer.
With all of these rumors and internal decisions, it is somewhat surprising that, prior to tonight, their lone move involved shipping Greg Golson—another Michael Bourn-type—for John Mayberry, Jr of the Rangers. This was a swapping of speed for power, as Mayberry is said to have 30-HR potential. Tonight, however, they sent AAA backstop Jason Jaramillo to the Pirates for their backup catcher, Ronnie Paulino.
In 2006 and 2007, Paulino was the starting catcher for the Pirates, before losing his job to Ryan Doumit this past season. During those two seasons, Paulino averaged 131 games, posted a .319 wOBA, and produced an average of -5 runs below average. In just 40 games in 2008, his wOBA fell to just .260, and he was worth -7 runs below average offensively in a mere 130 plate appearances.
In the minor leagues, Jaramillo has put up numbers very similar to those of Paulino’s in 2006-07, but never could earn a callup to the big leagues. Acquiring Paulino gives the Phillies four catchers worthy of some form of playing time. Carlos Ruiz had a poor year with the bat but proved to be effective in their playoff run, and is a very solid defensive catcher. Chris Coste isn’t as solid defensively, but has a much more potent bat. And Lou Marson is their top offensive prospect, a player the team is high on, and one that many feel will be the starter in 2010. Now add Paulino to the mix and, suffice it to say, someone isn’t making the big league club.
Perhaps Amaro felt that if someone got hurt, Paulino and his major league experience would be worth more than Jaramillo, especially given a 2006 season in which he was league average with the bat. With Marson waiting in the wings, Jaramillo realistically had little chance to earn significant playing time with the major league team. This trade isn’t going to make headlines, and many Phillies/Pirates fans reading this may have had no idea prior to venturing to this site, but it poses an interesting question for the Phillies: essentially, who stays and who goes? I would tend to think that Ruiz-Marson-Coste will start the season with the team, with Paulino a member of the AAA Iron Pigs affiliate.
Pirates fans, what say you about this under-the-radar and potentially meaningless move? What’s the scouting report on Paulino?
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