Anyone need a catcher?


LAS VEGAS — Here are two possible destinations for Pirates fans’ favorite punching bag, catcher Ronny Paulino: Boston and Baltimore.

The Red Sox are planning ahead in case they are unable to re-sign free agent Jason Varitek. Boston has made a price-check on what it might take to get Paulino in a trade.

Orioles GM Andy MacPhail hesitated just a bit when asked if the trade which sent Ramon Hernandez to Cincinnati means former first-round pick Matt Weiters will be the starting catcher for the O’s on Opening Day. MacPhail said the team will try to acquire “one or two” catchers with major league experience in the next couple of weeks. But there is no indication yet that the Orioles have inquired about Paulino.

The Pirates are holding out hope they can get a serviceable prospect in return for Paulino, who spent nearly all of last summer with Triple-A Indianapolis. However, there already were major doubts about Paulino’s grit and after last season there are questions about his ability to stay healthy. All of that damages his trade value.

One last thing … the agent for infielder David Eckstein called back to reiterate he is not in negotiations with the Pirates. No dollar figures have been exchanged. But there seems to be enough momentum to figure that step will be reached in due time.