The 30-year-old lefty becomes the latest Philadelphia reclamation project. Critics would argue that there isn't much to reclaim.
Summary: Taschner, the subject of trade rumors dating back to last season, had actually suggested to the Giants that a change of scenery would benefit all parties, according to several West Coast reports this morning. The Giants, who watched as Taschner posted a team-high 12 walks this spring, finally ended it, swinging the troubled lefthander to the Phillies for catcher Ronny Paulino, who was immediately flipped to Florida for minor league righty Hector Correa. The departure of Paulino, who had reportedly fallen into Pittsburgh's doghouse before the Phils got him, impressed no one this spring, securing a spot for incumbent backup Chris Coste.
Beerleaguer: From the Phillies' standpoint, they're buying relatively low on a 30-year-old pitcher whose career has bottomed out after 10 seasons with the Giants, the longest organizational tenure of anyone on that team. While the Phils may be trying to sell themselves on the idea that Taschner, who reunites with ex-Giant and mentor Scott Eyre, can become the next Eyre or J.C. Romero, Taschner actually has more in common with another lefty they acquired last season. Steve Kline, who signed with the Phillies after he was let go by the Giants, posted almost identical numbers the season before he was released. While Kline and Taschner differ in stuff, age and situational effectiveness, it all adds up to the same pile of dooky.
Kline in '07: 46 IP, 4.70 ERA (94 ERA+), 1.65 WHIP, 17/18 K/BB ratio
Taschner in '08: 48 IP, 4.88 ERA (90 ERA+), 1.69 WHIP, 39/24 K/BB ratio
As you can see, Kline, who toiled in Lehigh Valley for a few weeks and was eventually released, technically had the better season. Taschner's legacy is that of a fringe pitcher on a poor club, so I'm hesitant to declare J.A. Happ the winner of the fifth starter race just because of this, but it sure looks like Happ (who was throttled in a Triple-A game today) will round out the rotation, with Chan Ho Park and Taschner joining the bullpen at the outset.
There are few guarantees, however, and those expecting a nice, neat 25-man package once the Phillies break camp may need to wait just a little longer. For the Phillies, who are likely to go with an abnormal rotation variation for the first week-and-a-half, it could give them enough time to see if Taschner, who is technically better against right-handed hitters, can actually help them. As for Paulino, it goes to show what a good showing in the Caribbean Series translates to in the big leagues.