If indeed this deal becomes reality, it gives the Mets a very good backup to Josh Thole — and one who, if motivated, can challenge Thole for the starting job.
Of course, that’s a big “if”. Paulino has always had the physical talent to be a solid, perhaps above-average, Major League catcher. He has a strong and accurate arm, balanced setup behind the plate, and can move his feet pretty well for a man his size — when he’s at a good playing weight. Offensively, he has the physical tools to hit for power and has at times shown an ability to get on base.
However, Paulino has also been something of an enigma. He’s been wildly inconsistent, both behind the plate and at it. Part of it, I’m sure, has been bouts of lazyness, an inability to stay focused, and a chronic weight problem. In some ways, he may remind one of Ramon Castro, though I think Paulino has better all-around defensive skills. He also reminds me a bit of Javy Lopez — another catcher who perpetually underachieved due to issues of motivation and concentration (though, Lopez was far more gifted offensively).
Maybe Paulino can reach his potential under a strict disciplinarian like Terry Collins, who knows? Maybe someone on the Mets’ medical staff will find out the guy needs medication for A.D.D.
At worst, the Mets get a RH-hitting catcher who hits very well vs. LH pitchers and provides solid if inconsistent defense — a good foil to Josh Thole. At best, the Mets may catch lightning and have an everyday catcher similar to Miguel Olivo.
Assuming the Mets sign Paulino to a cheap, one-year contract, it’s a good deal for them — particularly considering the dearth of catching available on the free agent market. Though, I’d still like to see them make a play for Dioner Navarro.
Adam Rubin has more on Paulino here.