Jul 6, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Ronny Paulino (28) before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Recently, the Seattle Mariners invited Ronny Paulino to spring training. He’s a catcher, he’s 31, and he spent last year playing with the Baltimore Orioles. Paulino has previously played with the New York Mets, Florida Marlins, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Paulino is signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to the Major League camp. If he does well, he could very well be part of the roster. The question is: Will Paulino be good enough to squeeze someone out of the 40-man roster? If so, then who will the Mariners need to let go of?
Naturally, an invitation isn’t a guarantee, but if he does make the team, then Paulino could make a nice back up pitcher to either Jesus Montero or (if he’s officially signed after Wednesday’s physical) Kelly Shoppach.
If Paulino is officially signed, he will be bringing a .272 batting average to the Mariners. He’s also a guy who can get on base, something the Mariners definitely need if they’re going to start getting the runs they need in order to win games. He’ll also come, like many of the Mariners guys signed and invited to spring training this off season, with a good little bit of experience – something those young up-and-comers will need to make use of.
Mike Zunino is a top prospect who will pose some serious competition for Paulino when it comes to making the roster. He too has been invited to spring training along with catchers John Hicks and Jesus Sucre. All four of these men are signed with the Mariners’ Minors, and only Jesus Montero is signed to the actual 40-man roster for next year.