Paulino will join the Mets to serve as backup to Josh Thole, who recently received the vote of confidence to start everyday from both the GM and from manager Terry Collins.
Paulino was non-tendered by the Florida Marlins and will have to sit out the first eight games of the 2011 season to complete the remainder of a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Overall, his 2010 numbers don’t justify the importance he had with the Marlins. Hitting .259 with four home runs, Paulino proved to be a workhorse that stepped up for the team when starting catcher John Baker went down due to injury.
This story originally broke with many sources refuting it, saying the Mets are “working through a list” of free-agent catchers, but according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes, a deal was finally worked out as per his twitter account.
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed as of yet, but considering the rationale behind the signing, Paulino will receive a one-year deal worth around $1 million.
It was thought the Mets would sign a more experienced, veteran catcher who had some years under his belt. Names like Russell Martin, Henry Blanco, or Gerald Laird come to mind. But the signing of Paulino with five full big league seasons makes much more sense.
They get the veteran to mentor young Josh Thole, while also getting a productive bat off the bench who can also start every other day.
Like we saw with Henry Blanco and his diminishing production last year, a viable back up is needed when working with young players who continue to grow and develop at the Major League level.