Results tagged ‘ Ronny Paulino ’
Could he be a regular catcher? Is he a viable backup candidate?
Paulino isn’t really good enough to be any more than a desperation option as a regular catcher; he’s a career .272/.324/.376 hitter in the majors, really slow, and adequate defensively. He’s had his chances to be a regular and hasn’t stuck. If he did fall into a job and got off to a hot start, he’s good enough so that it might be able to keep it for a season.
He’s a perfectly fine backup catcher, if he provides what you need. I don’t think he’s any better — or worse — than Chris Robinson, John Hester, or Luis Exposito.
Paulino was declared a free agent after 2012, and has not yet signed with anyone. I suspect he’ll sign closer to spring training, when teams realize that they need catching help.
UPDATE: Paulino signed with the Mariners.
Although the Tides were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the day when Pawtucke won, they engaged the Durham Bulls in a very entertaining, very well-played game last night. I don’t really think that’s unusual, nor is it unusual that the Tides won 3-1.
For the first six innings, the dominant feature was a slow ground ball Steve Tolleson hit into the hole between shortstop and third base. Third baseman Brooks Conrad dove for the ball but missed. Shortstop Reid Brignac circled behind Conrad and scooped the ball into his glove only to have it roll out while he was trying to straighten up, get his balance, and throw to first. Although the play looked ugly, it obviously would have required more than ordinary effort to make successfully and Official Scorer Mike correctly called it a hit. For the first six innings, that was the only hit Durham’s Matt Torra allowed, and if that situation had continued, Mike would have been pressured to change his call and let Torra be credited with a no-hitter.
Fortunately, Ronny Paulino led off the seventh inning with a clean, sharp single to left, and the next two Tides followed with equally hard-hit balls — a lineout to short and a double to the right-center-field wall. Durham replaced Torra, and three batters later the Tides had their 3-1 lead. Durham made no serious threats in the eighth or ninth, and the Tides had the win.
But even that wasn’t all that unusual. After the Tides seventh inning, I realized that I had not seen a pickoff attempt the entire game. Neither by Durham nor by Norfolk. Neither by a pitcher or a catcher. No pickoff attempts at all. Part of the reason was that there weren’t all that many baserunners — you’re not going to have pickoffs without baserunners. Most pickoff attempts are at first base, so there generally has to be a runner on first — but when there are runners on first and second, there won’t be pickoff throws. Last night, it seemed that there were runners on first and second more frequently than usual, especially compared to how frequently there was a runner on first and not on second. Finally, four times when the Tides had a runner on first and not on second, the runner on first was either Ronny Paulino, who may be the slowest position player I’ve seen this season, or Luis Exposito, another catcher who is almost as slow as Paulino. Durham didn’t bother holding either one on base, so there were no pickoff attempts.
We’ve all grown accustomed to seeing pitchers throw to first base to keep the runner close, and we’ve all gotten frustrated when a pitcher throws over and over and over in a fruitless attempt to slow the runner down. One of the advantages — or, perhaps, disadvantages — of watching and recording every event is that you notice when things are out of the ordinary. I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen a game without a single pickoff attempt.
Saturday’s 8-4 Tides win over the Pawtucket Red Sox was the kind of game the Norfolk Tides would typically lose, especially over the past few seasons. The Tides jumped on Pawtucket starter Justin Germano for four runs in the first inning, capped by Ronnie Paulino’s two-run double to the right-center field wall. They added two more runs in the third on newcomer Brandon Waring’s first AAA home run, a two-run fly just into the left-field picnic area.
(As an aside, I first saw Justin Germano on his way up in 2002, pitching for Fort Wayne in the Midwest League at Kane County. The Kane County starting pitcher was Dontrelle Willis. I next saw Germano start in 2006, my first year of datacasting, when he started for the Louisville Bats. Germano has made 113 starts in AAA and has a 43-35 career AAA record.)
Back to the present. Pawtucket began a comeback, stringing four singles to produce two runs in the fifth inning. They closed the gap to 6-3 with run in the seventh. Jose Iglesias led off the eighth with a well-executed bunt single. Kevin Youkilis, down on a rehabilitation assignment, hit a ground ball to shortstop, a nearly tailor-made double-play ball, that rolled through Blake Davis’ legs for an error, putting runners on first and third with no outs. Those of us familiar with the Tides knew what was coming next — a big inning, leading to a Pawtucket lead or (worse for us) a tie game with several extra innings on tap.
But no. Lars Anderson hit a ground ball just to the right of second base, and Carlos Rojas fielded it cleanly and flipped it to Davis covering second base. Davis touched the bag with his foot and threw the ball to Joe Mahoney, doubling up Anderson. Although Iglesias scored the Red Sox’ fourth run on the play, the rally had fizzled and the momentum shift stopped.
And in the bottom of the eighth, Lady Luck smiled on the Tides. With two out, Lew Ford blooped a Texas Leaguer in front of the Pawtucket right fielder. Blake Davis smacked a low, hard line drive inches inside the third-base foul line for a double. And with runners on second and third, Jamie Hoffman placed a soft fly ball just far enough into right field so that the first baseman couldn’t catch it, just close enough to the foul line so that the second baseman couldn’t catch it, and just shallow enough into the outfield that the right fielder couldn’t catch it. Two runs scored and the game was clinched.
While Friday’s game was a planned bullpen game for the Tides, Saturday turned into an unplanned bullpen game. Starting pitcher Steve Johnson left the game after two innings with a strained groin, and four Tides relievers nursed the game to its conclusion. No Tides pitcher deserved the win; the official scorer awarded the win to Pat Neshek, who faced only five batters and allowed an inherited runner to score. Not that there were any better options.
The Orioles announced that erstwhile backup catcher Taylor Teagarden will not be ready for opening day, and he’ll almost certainly be placed on the Disabled List. That means that Ronny Paulino will be the Orioles’ backup catcher for the start of the season. That, in turn, means that John Hester and Caleb Joseph will likely be the two catchers on the Tides’ opening-day roster. I don’t see any other catchers in the organization who are ready for AAA.