Sometimes the best roster moves are cutting the ones that DON’T belong on the roster. Such a move was the dumping of former Pirates’ catcher Ronnie Paulino.

Paulino was just suspended for 50 games for substance abuse. While he appears to be contrite about the matter, and perhaps honestly didn’t believe that his weight-loss drug was not banned, he is now an embarrassment to his team.

Fortunately, that team will no longer be the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Paulino has had a checkered record as a Pirate, and as a baseball player. He started out quite well, for a part season in 2006, when he was a genuinely above-average, though not a star player.

He regressed in 2007, however, to below average, besides showing a notable lack of energy on the field.

By 2008, when he had to “platoon” for the catcher’s spot behind Ryan Doumit, he was basically useless.

At the end of the year, he was traded to the Phillies for backup catcher, Jason Jaramillo, in a deal that the Pirates did not (then) get the worst of.

Hope springs eternal, however, and the Florida Marlins traded FOR Paulino in 2009. He served them relatively well in that year. (In this regard, he was like a former Pirates pitcher, Ollie Perez, who had sporadic good years in 2004, then 2007.)

He reverted to form in 2010, with a below-average contribution for the year to date, before earning the suspension. This will hurt the Marlins for the balance of the year (while they are non-contenders) and into the next.

In 2008, the Pirates traded away Jason Bay in a three-team deal that sent Bay to the Boston Red Sox, Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and four players of varying quality to the Bucs.

Although Boston got the best of that deal, the biggest loser was the Dodgers, because of the 50-game suspension of Manny Ramirez. Pittsburgh at least dodged clear of that one.

It’s not clear that Paulino (unlike e.g. Roger Clemens) sought to break the rules. What is clear, however, was that he didn’t “have it.” Which is why the Pirates (rightly) dumped him. Which may be why he became a substance abuser in spite of himself.

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