Ronny Paulino Rumors
6:52pm: Frisaro says Pirates shortstop Brian Bixler is a name that has surfaced as a possible return for Andino.
6:20pm: Kovacevic says this trade "looks as if it might not advance past the talking stage."
11:51am: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald notes that Andino is out of options and Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez has publicly admired Paulino.
11:33am: Related note from MLB.com's Joe Frisaro:
There has been talks at the Winter Meetings about Florida showing interest in catcher Ronny Paulino. But according to a National League source, there didn't seem to be any discussions about sending the catcher to the Marlins.
11:08am: According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates are discussing a trade with the Marlins for shortstop Robert Andino. It's not known who else is being discussed, but Kovacevic notes the Marlins' earlier interest in catcher Ronny Paulino.
Andino, 24 in April, has a .549 OPS in his brief Major League career. He did show a little potential in his second stint at Triple A though. Baseball America wrote in their 2007 Handbook that Andino plays "exemplary defense."
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald has a few new Red Sox rumors:
- The Sox are not interested in Jay Payton or any Craig Landis client (he also reps Jon Garland). They're also not in on So Taguchi.
- Josh Bard could be a Plan B or C at catcher. Ronny Paulino has also been discussed.
Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has the latest on the Marlins' trade talks for a catcher.
The Rangers could part with Max Ramirez or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but want a frontline starter type such as Chris Volstad, Josh Johnson, or Ricky Nolasco. The Marlins aren't willing to do that, but instead could flip Jonathan Sanchez to Texas if they get him. Or, they could send Anibal Sanchez if they add a starter.
The Marlins also have an eye on Pittsburgh's Ronny Paulino. Meanwhile current Marlin Matt Treanor could be non-tendered or traded for a minor piece.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "the Marlins are looking for a catcher, and they still like Ronny Paulino." To date, the offers for Paulino have been weak since he spent much of '08 in the minors.
Kovacevic adds that the Pirates signed pitcher Brian Slocum to a minor league deal.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette checks in from Vegas with the latest Pirates rumors.
- At some point during the Meetings, the Pirates and Tigers will meet to discuss Jack Wilson. It has been suggested that the Tigers are backing off on Wilson; they worked out Adam Everett last week. The Dodgers are also in the mix, with recent discussions involving the possible restructuring of Wilson's contract.
- Other trade candidates: John Grabow, Ronny Paulino, Freddy Sanchez, and Adam LaRoche.
- The Pirates' "power bat" addition could be Kevin Millar, muses Kovacevic.
- Reliever Denny Bautista is a non-tender candidate. We'll add him to the list.
- The Pirates have not yet made extension offers to Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, or Paul Maholm.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is back on the scene to get us up to speed with the latest Pirates rumors. Let's start with the team's five veteran trade candidates:
- Jack Wilson: The Tigers and Dodgers are said to be the main suitors. The problem is that neither team wants to send the Pirates top prospects while paying all of the $7.85MM Wilson has coming. Additionally, the Pirates do not view Dodgers shortstop prospect Chin-Lung Hu as a possible trade centerpiece. The Bucs have spoken to at least two other clubs about Wilson, but Kovacevic rejects the previously reported three-team scenario. It seems that some of the top free agent shortstops will need to sign to create a better market for Wilson.
- Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche: The Pirates have received "mere inquiries" on these two.
- John Grabow, Ronny Paulino: Grabow is a free agent after '09, so his trade value may never be higher. The Pirates are apparently pushing Paulino, but don't want to sell low on him.
- Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps: These four are described as "as close to untouchable as it gets" for the Pirates.
- On the free agent front, the Pirates have made contact with Paul Byrd. However, GM Neal Huntington implied he's not finding the starting pitching bargains he expected. The Pirates haven't made offers to Doug Mientkiewicz or Jason Michaels; those players are considering proposals from other teams.
- Kovacevic adds: "The Pirates also had discussed acquiring a right-handed power bat for the outfield through free agency, but there has been no known movement on that front." Just looking at who's out there, I imagine this could be referring to Pat Burrell. Still, that's entirely speculative and he's probably out of their price range.
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.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has some new information for us regarding an aborted Jason Bay deal. Kovacevic says the Bucs made a decision through the entire chain of command that Franklin Gutierrez, Kelly Shoppach, Cliff Lee, and a minor league pitcher wasn't enough for Bay and Ronny Paulino.
This situation has been confusing to follow from the start, with plenty of conflicting information floating about. For instance, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes said on Wednesday that Lee and Shoppach were never involved in these talks - the Bucs wanted three to five of the Indians' top prospects. Before that there was that whole business about whether talks had occurred at the Winter Meetings and been revived.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 2:24pm: The Indians and Pirates haven't even talked about Bay since the Meetings began.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 10:58am: Buster Olney says these talks are dead.
FROM 12-5-07 at 7:35am:
According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Indians felt pressured when they saw the division-rival Tigers trade for Miguel Cabrera. Their response was to restart their conversations with the Pirates for outfielder Jason Bay.
A five-player trade is being discussed, apparently expanding upon the rumor originally reported by ESPN's Steve Phillips. The Bucs would send Bay and catcher Ronny Paulino for Franklin Gutierrez, Kelly Shoppach, and Cliff Lee. Looks like the Pirates are seeking MLB-ready guys, though they wanted prospects from the Rangers yesterday. Late last night it was also said that the Padres had jumped into the fray for Bay.
It's decent value for Bay, who should really only be traded this winter if the Pirates feel his decline is for real. It's not surprising to see the Tribe in on Bay, since the Pirates' GM came from their organization.
Ben Shpigel of the New York Times has some new Mets info for us today.
- Surprisingly, Shpigel believes the one free agent starter the Mets will seriously consider is Livan Hernandez. That is odd because I had read Livan wasn't high on Omar Minaya's list. We've seen the Mets connected to free agents Byung-Hyun Kim, Carlos Silva, Hiroki Kuroda, Kyle Lohse, and Jason Jennings so far this offseason.
- As far as some unsung trade opportunities, my Mets guy says Ervin Santana, Chris Capuano, Claudio Vargas, and Noah Lowry are being considered.
- According to Shpigel, the Mets hope to re-sign Ramon Castro as their backup catcher. I don't see that happening, as he'll probably be able to snag a starting job elsewhere. Options the Mets are considering to start at catcher include Yorvit Torrealba, Ramon Hernandez, Ronny Paulino, Gerald Laird, and Paul Lo Duca. A source tells me the D'Backs' Miguel Montero may also be on the radar.
- Shpigel says Luis Castillo might command a four-year deal. Say what? The Mets may yet re-sign Castillo but want to see what the trade market offers first. Shpigel names Orlando Hudson, while I've also heard Alberto Callaspo.