Mets Better Off Without Paulino

Andy Martino of the Daily News shares an odd exchange that occurred late last season between manager Terry Collins and catcher Ronny Paulino.

In the late innings of one game last season, Terry Collins needed a pinch-hitter, and decided to use Ronny Paulino. The Mets manager walked to Paulino’s seat on the bench, and told the catcher to grab a bat.

Paulino did not grab a bat, and he did not move, according to a person present during the conversation. Collins, perturbed, stared at Paulino for a few moments, and then asked again. This prompted the pinch hitter to stir, finally.

It was a small moment, but it illustrated why some Mets officials are pushing for a new catching combination next season. In Paulino’s first season in New York, the team did not view him as a diligent worker, adequate defensive catcher, or offensive force off the bench, and some are pushing to replace the arbitration-eligible backstop.

Paulino wasn’t that impressive defensively last season and batted just .268 with a .663 OPS in 228 at-bats. He hit two homers and drove in 19 runs. Additionally, he missed nearly all of Spring Training with visa problems, then missed the first two weeks of the season due to a banned substance suspension.

“He was supposed to hit for power, and all he did was hit singles,” said one Mets official of Paulino, who hit two home runs in 2011, and slugged just .351. “(Mike) Nickeas could do that, and he would be much better defensively.”

Josh Thole will undoubtedly get the majority of playing time next season, but despite the need for a veteran catcher, Paulino seems like a bad idea.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.