April 26, 2011

Pirates Add Outfielder Xavier Paul

The Pirates claimed reserve outfielder Xavier Paul today. He will join the team in the next few days necessitating a corresponding move.

Paul has hit only .233/.280/.329 in 160 major league plate appearances with the Dodgers. However, he dominated AAA pitching with a batting line of .320/.380/.502 for three seasons including .325/.384/.579 in 2010. He is 26 and bats lefthanded.

It looks from here like the odd man out will be another lefthanded hitting outfielder, John Bowker. Bowker is a year older than Paul and has hit .238/.288/.391 in 607 MLB plate appearances, so it seems like there might be a little more upside with Paul.

To me, there's no reason to have a player on the roster who does nothing but pinch hit unless that player is a legitimate power bat. Paul is faster than Bowker and could pinch run once in a while, but he's not likely to start many games. Constant shuffling of marginal players is nothing new in Pittsburgh; the solution is to be in first place and win the World Series so we don't have waiver priority to claim these guys in the future.

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