Marlins in market for a catcher

Bullpen won’t be the only area the Marlins plan to address in the offseason.

The organization is strongly considering moving in another direction at catcher. Ronny Paulino recently was suspended for 50 games for violating MLB’s substance abuse policy.

This year, Paulino made $1.1 million. Through arbitration, he projects to see his salary increase to about $3 million in 2011.

Due to the suspension, he is out for the remainder of the season. The organization is cautious about wanting to pay $3 million to a player coming off a suspension. So they will be exploring other catching options.

If Paulino were to return, it would be at a marked down price.

The other catcher the Marlins expected to have this year faces the strong possibility of arm surgery.

John Baker, projected to get majority of the playing time this season, has been on the disabled list since mid-May. Baker visited a doctor on Monday, and chances are likely that he will be undergoing surgery on his right elbow.

Because of the situations with Paulino and Baker, the Marlins have made finding catching help a high priority. Adding catching help is up there with solidifying the bullpen.

Paulino played in 91 games and he batted .259 with four homers and 37 RBIs.

While he was especially solid in May and June, his numbers dropped significantly as he was playing every day. In June, he batted .287, and followed that up with a .174 batting average in July. In August, he appeared in 12 games, and was hitting .171 in the month when he was suspended.

Rookies Brett Hayes and Brad Davis are currently handling the catching duties.

— Joe Frisaro

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