Last night, Phillies traded catcher Ronny Paulino to the Giants for left-handed relief pitcher Jack Taschner.
Last December, the Phillies had traded catching prospect Jason Jaramillo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ronny Paulino, who they hoped would be able to challenge, if not win, the second catcher job from fan favorite Chris Coste. Sadly, for Paulino, his spring training average would show otherwise as he batted only .194 (6 for 31) in thirteen Grapefruit League games with only two doubles and a home run while striking out twelve times. Although Coste didn’t do any better with his at-bats, the Phillies have decided to go with the known quantity instead of the unknown and had put Paulino out as trade bait several days ago. Last night they got a nibble as the Giants had traded to them left-handed relief pitcher Jack Taschner for Paulino.
Although Taschner is having just as bad a spring pitching for the Giants in the Cactus League (6.23 ERA in eight and two-thirds inning), the Phils thinks that he is the man that they need for their bullpen right now. While pitching for the Giants last year, Taschner went 3-2 with a 4.88 ERA in fourty-eight innings as he appeared in 67 games. Career-wise, in four seasons in the big leagues, all with the Giants, Taschner has a career record of 8-4 with a 5.01 ERA in 140 innings as he pitched in 178 games, all in relief.
With the trade, the Phillies now have two left-handers coming out of the bullpen as they wait for J.C. Romero’s return from his soon to be served 50 games suspension. The trade may also have an influence on the battle for the final spot in the starting rotation, as its more than likely now that the left-hander J.A. Happ will either be declared the winner of the battle, over right-hander Chan Ho Park, or he will be sent down to the Lehigh Valley Triple-A team and will be the first pitcher to be called up if any of the members of the starting rotation is either injured or have a melt down. Only time will tell.
My thoughts on the trade? I think it’s a good strategic move on the Phillies’ part. The Phils have moved someone who they saw during spring training couldn’t cut it while getting in return a temporary, veteran, second left-handed arm to go along with their left-handed relief specialist Scott Eyre while they wait for J.C. Romero to come back from his enforced exile, thus preventing the kind of situations with Eyre like had just happened to him this past Thursday against the Yankees. Hopefully, Traschner will be good enough during that 50 games period that he makes it hard for the Phils to let him go when that happens. I would just love to see what the Phils will do if that happens.