Mets sign D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Paulino

Updated: December 9, 2010, 1:32 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Catcher Ronny Paulino and right-handed reliever D.J. Carrasco officially became New York Mets on Thursday when both free agents passed physicals in New York.

Paulino, 29, signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal to serve as a righty-hitting complement to lefty-hitting Josh Thole behind the plate. Carrasco, 33, signed a two-year, $2.5 million deal.

"From our standpoint, regardless of cost, we got the catcher that we think fits best for us. And, of the right-handed relief that was available at reasonable cost, we think we got the guy we wanted," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We were happy with both of those things. We didn't settle in either case."

Paulino has eight games remaining on a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug with the Florida Marlins last season. Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said the stress of knowing a suspension was looming hampered Paulino's production during the second half with the Marlins, resulting in a .259 average with four homers and 37 RBIs in 316 at-bats for the entire season.

"We live within the system that's been adopted by Major League Baseball," Alderson said about signing a player with an existing suspension. "We look at it from a standpoint of principal and the standpoint of practicality. From a practicality standpoint, if someone had 50 games facing them going into the season, that's not going to happen. Is that a principle decision? That's a practical decision. From a principle standpoint, you try to look at all the circumstances, and ultimately we live within a system. I think we have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. If he's served his punishment, there's a penalty for some transgression, it's been served, we move on. But it's an individual, case-by-case determination in terms of incident, reputation, etc., etc."

Paulino hit .358 against left-handed pitching last season, which should help a Mets team whose catchers hit .155 against southpaws in 2010.

Paulino told ESPNDeportes.com's Enrique Rojas he is not resigned to being Thole's backup, either, although the organization's plan is for the young incumbent to face right-handed pitching and handle the bulk of the catching duties.

"I'm training to fight for the position," Paulino said. "No one has a regular job yet."

Carrasco adds much-needed depth to the team's bullpen. He is capable of pitching multiple innings, so he could handle the sixth and seventh innings with leads before turning the ball over to Bobby Parnell for the eighth inning and Francisco Rodriguez for the save.

Carrasco went 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 63 relief appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

"I'm capable of doing whatever they ask," Carrasco said. "I'd prefer to be in games that are going to lead to wins and holds and stuff like that -- that the games are going to be winning games as opposed to blowout games. I can do the multiple inning kind of deal. I want to be used quite a bit. That's what keeps me sharp."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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