The Pittsburgh Pirates have released Xavier Paul after the outfielder cleared waivers. The team couldn’t outright him to AAA since Paul has more than three years of major league service time. They also can’t re-sign him as a free agent until May 16th, 2012. His big strength is his speed and defense. The Pirates have a similar player in Gorkys Hernandez, who has more upside than Paul, so the loss isn’t a major one.
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I don’t think anything in particular “happened” to Paul, and I (like others) actually think Hurdle liked him much more than his production warranted. He is a replacement value player. He isn’t bad, per se, but there is nothing great either. He did play hard, wasn’t awful in the field, had speed, and hit for a decent average. However, he is a bench player that has to pinch hit often and he is awful at that. Speed only works if you play alot and get on base to use it, and he doesn’t look to play often and he doesn’t get on base enough and he does not hit for power. Given that the starting three outfielders figure to be Cutch, Pressly and Tabata, they do not need an additional speedy guy off the bench. They need a guy that can hit the ball out of the park, even if he does not start, or at least be a threat to do so. They have a log jam of speedy guys with a lack of power in the majors and minors (especially with Marte being so close to the majors) It really made no sense to keep him.
I liked Xavier Paul, but I get the sense there was some underlying tension between him and other teammates and/or perhaps with Clint Hurdle. Any insight?
I know nothing about Gorkys Hernandez other than what I’ve read, but my impression is that X-Paul has more pop in his bat. Also, from what I saw last season, Paul was a mostly excellent defensive player and a good baserunner. He didn’t look lost at the plate, and he definitely had the strongest throwing arm on the team.
The Pirates’ announcers at the end of the season kept saying things like,”There’s always a place for a guy like this on the team,” and talking about how he had made a good case for a roster spot in 2012.
Too bad he couldn’t be sent to AAA. He’d make a nice insurance policy since he does have some skills.
Are they sure it was Xavier Paul they released and not someone else?
As bad as Paul was as a pinch hitter this year, he did a solid job as a spot starter. I actually will miss him.