It’s a deal: Paulino signs Minor League contract

Baltimore Orioles v. Chicago White SoxThis one has been brewing for a few days now, but the Mariners finalized a Minor League deal Friday with veteran Ronny Paulino to add some depth to their catching position. The one-year contract includes an invitation to Major League camp.

The agreement with Paulino had been in the works for several days, but he had to pass a physical before the contract was finalized and that became official on Friday.

Paulino, 31, owns a .272 batting average over an eight-year career with the Pirates, Marlins, Mets and Orioles. He was with Baltimore for the first half of last season, but played just 20 games behind Matt Wieters while hitting .254 in 63 at-bats.

The Dominican native finished up last year with the Orioles’ Triple-A Norfolk club, hitting .287 with one home run and 15 RBIs in 150 at-bats over 40 games.

The Mariners are looking to bolster their catching position after trading John Jaso to the A’s in a three-way deal that brought outfielder Michael Morse from the Nationals.

Seattle’s only catcher on its current 40-man roster is Jesus Montero, though the club also has extended non-roster invitations to young prospects Mike Zunino and John Hicks as well as Jesus Sucre for the upcoming camp, which opens with pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 12 in Peoria, Ariz.

General manager Jack Zduriencik said Wednesday he planned to sign two veteran catchers before Spring Training. The club is still interested in adding another free agent, with Kelly Schoppach one possible target.

Schoppach played four years with manager Eric Wedge in Cleveland from 2006-09 and remains unsigned after splitting last year between the Mets and Red Sox.

Other unsigned free-agent catchers include Brian Schneider, Chris Snyder, Matt Treanor, Rod Barajas and Miguel Olivo. Olivo was with the Mariners the past two years, but isn’t expected to return.

Yorvit Torrealba, one of the other remaining free agents, agreed to a Minor League deal Thursday with the Rockies. Another potential target, left-handed hitting George Kottaras, was claimed off waivers by the Royals on Friday. He’d been designated for assignment by the A’s on Jan. 16 after Oakland acquired Jaso.


Lets go M’s

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