The 31-year-old Paulino spent the 2014 season with the White Sox after signing a one-year, $1.75MM contract with a club option for the 2015 season. However, Paulino was able to total just 18 1/3 innings before a shoulder injury put him on the shelf for the remainder of the season. The time he spent on the mound wasn’t pretty, either, as he posted an 11.29 ERA with 35 hits (six homers) and a 14-to-12 K/BB ratio in that time.
Those numbers won’t do much to excite Cubs fans, but Paulino does come with an intriguing track record. Though his career ERA is an uninspiring 5.22, he’s averaged 95.1 mph on his fastball since debuting in the Majors and has long shown the ability to miss bats in the rotation, as evidenced by a career K/9 rate of 8.3. From 2010-12, Paulino pitched 268 2/3 innings with the Astros, Rockies and Royals, posting a 4.29 ERA but a markedly better 3.54 FIP.
Paulino has always struggled a bit with his control, and injuries have certainly slowed his career. He had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and shoulder surgery in 2013 prior to a recurring shoulder injury last season. Nonetheless, when healthy, he’s represented an arm with some upside. The White Sox’ flier on him in the 2013-14 offseason was among my favorite low-risk moves that winter (even if, in hindsight, the results were poor), and on a Minor League deal, he’s a perfectly reasonable depth piece to add to an organization. Paulino had signed a Minor League pact with the Red Sox this offseason and yielded one run with three strikeouts against one walk in four Spring Training innings with Boston, but he was released at the end of camp.