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Decision time looming for Felipe Paulino

Felipe Paulino is nearing the end days of his rehab time at AAA Charlotte. Does he stay or does he go?

Tom Pennington

The White Sox assigned Felipe Paulino to Triple-A Charlotte on May 3 to start his rehab assignment.  Since it is now May 22, and rehab assignments have a 20-day 30-day limit, the next significant roster decision may involve Paulino. His time at Charlotte isn't really showing that he's ready to come back.

Over four starts, Paulino has given up 24 hits, 18 runs, 15 earned runs, four home runs, and 10 walks while striking out 11 over 15 innings.  That's a 9.00 ERA and a 7.52 FIP.  The good news is that these are improvements over the 11.29 ERA and 7.92 FIP he had with the Sox over four starts.  The bad news is ... well, you understand.

Last week, we got also got to see what elite major league pitching can do to Triple-A batters.  Chris Sale stopped by Charlotte for a cup of coffee and eleven strikeouts. For someone penciled in as a fourth or fifth starter, you would expect some issues with a few batters, but still something much better than what we've seen from Paulino.  Instead, Eric Surkamp has been the reliever backing up Paulino over his starts.  In his 15 innings relieving Paulino, he's given up 12 hits, three runs (all earned), and two walks with 17 strikeouts.  For an experienced major league starter, that's what Paulino's line should look like.

Paulino was an excellent pitcher in his seven starts in 2012.  Then, he had Tommy John surgery.  Over his starts in the minors in 2013 with the Royals and 2014 with the Sox, his walk rate has been near six walks per nine innings.  While the Sox tried several things through the spring, including teaching him a cutter, nothing really solved the control issues.  In the end, it looks like Coop couldn't fix 'em.  While the Sox may DFA him to option him to Charlotte, they might do better by walking away at this point.