LAS VEGAS - Why did the Phillies trade catcher Jason Jaramillo to the Pirates for catcher Ronny Paulino Wednesday?

On the surface, it appears top be little more than teams swapping players who have so far failed to live up to expectations.

Jaramillo was the Phillies' second-round draft choice in 2004. Paulino was the Pirates' regular catcher in 2006 and 2007. Jaramillo has been surpassed on the Phillies organizational depth chart by Lou Marson. Paulino lost his job last season to Ryan Doumit.

It goes deeper than that, though.

Phils general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. denies that this signals unhappiness with fan favorite Chris Coste, who was Carlos Ruiz' backup last season. He said it's more about adding depth and creating competition.

But it seems likely that Paulino will at least start spring training with the inside track. That opens up the possibility that Coste could be traded.

The Pirates, in the meantime, seem to have decided a change of scenery would be best for Paulino.

"We felt it would be better for him to move on," general manager Neal Huntington said. "He felt like he was an everyday guy who deserved to start."

Pittsburgh's baseball people clearly disagreed. In fact, Paulino had gotten the reputation for being somewhat unmotivated. The Phillies, however, believe that being sent to the minors last year might have been a wake-up call. They hope that his decision to play winter ball in his native Dominican Republic is a sign that he's rededicated himself to baseball.