Ronny Paulino. The Pirates’ backstop turns 27 in April and sports a career OPS of .730 (NL average for the position in ’07 was .712). Paulino nailed 26.7% of baserunners in ’07 and 36.2% in ’06. For his gamecalling skills I’ll defer to devoted Pirate fans, but he’s got to be improving after two years behind the dish. In short, there’s no reason to spend money at the catcher position for 2008.
That is exactly what the Pirates are planning, however. The names on the radar:
- Johnny Estrada – free agent with few remaining skills, will cost between $3.5-4MM
- Miguel Olivo – free agent hits for pop and guns runners down, will cost around $3MM
- Damian Miller – aging backup with little left, will cost around $2MM
- Michael Barrett – intriguing buy low trade possibility, but could cost $4.5-5MM
I don’t really support any of these moves, but I can at least see the logic in acquiring Barrett on the cheap and hoping to cash in on a rebound year. But bringing in a vet to split time with Paulino doesn’t seem good for his development.