The Orioles announced today that they have signed Ronny Paulino, whom the Mets non-tendered on December 13, to a minor league deal. The 30-year-old catcher appeared in 78 games in his lone year as a Met.
Paulino posted a .268/.312/.351 line in 2011 with two homers and 19 RBI in 248 plate appearances. The Mets signed him for one year and $1.35 million after he was non-tendered by the Marlins after the 2010 season. Paulino missed most of April while completing a 50-game drug suspension and then dealing with blood testing complications. He got off to a hot start, hitting .346 in May and June and looking especially comfortable against lefties.
But it was all downhill from there. Paulino hit .230 in July, .194 in August and .156 in September and October. He was also less-than-stellar behind the plate, throwing out just over 20 percent of runners and allowing six passed balls.
Paulino was third-year arbitration eligible this offseason, and considering his late-season struggles and the Mets’ need for a defensive catching backup, their decision to non-tender him was not surprising. A week after the Mets let Paulino go, they signed Rob Johnson, a weak-hitting defensive specialist, to a minor league contract. Johnson and Mike Nickeas will likely compete for the backup job, while Josh Thole tries to fix issues of his own behind the plate.