It’s rare to see a catcher-for-catcher deal, but that’s exactly what the Phillies and Pirates pulled off at the Winter Meetings, shuffling backstops across the state. The Phillies added catching depth to their major league team by acquiring Ronny Paulino for Jason Jaramillo. Paulino, who will turn 28 in April, has put up solid numbers in the minor leagues (and is hitting well in the Dominican League this winter), but has seen his offensive production decline each year he’s been in the big leagues.
The Young Player
The Phillies drafted Jaramillo twice—in the 39th round of the 2001 draft out of high school and then in the second round of the 2004 draft out of Oklahoma State. The 6-foot, 200-pound switch-hitter ranked as their No. 10 prospect last year, but his has stalled at Triple-A. While the 26-year-old is considered the prospect in this deal, he’s only a year and a half younger than Paulino and has yet to make it out of Triple-A. He repeated the level for the Phillies this year and put up a line of .266/.340/.371, nearly identical to the one he posted in 2007. Jaramillo has a slightly above-average arm and he threw out nearly 36 percent of basestealers this year (48-for-134), but his receiving and blocking are less reliable. He made 16 errors—the most for any catcher in the International League this year—and allowed nine passed balls.
The Pirates sold low on Paulino, who is a career .278/.331/.382 hitter, and ended up with a watered-down version of him in return, albeit one who switch-hits and has yet to accrue any big league service time.