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Reds pick Devin Mesoraco over Miguel Olivo as backup catcher

Mar 27, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

Ryan Hanigan will be Cincinnati’s primary catcher again this season and the Reds have settled on Devin Mesoraco as his backup, which means veteran Miguel Olivo won’t make the team.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds would like Olivo to accept an assignment to Triple-A so they can keep him around for depth, with the incentive being a $100,000 bonus for agreeing.

Mesoraco played sparingly behind Hanigan as a 23-year-old rookie last season, making just 48 starts behind the plate while hitting .212 with a .640 OPS, but it’ll be difficult to evaluate the former top prospect’s long-term potential if he doesn’t have an opportunity to be in the lineup regularly.

  1. jm91rs - Mar 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Is this a new Dusty Baker? Send a veteran packing to make way for the talented prospect?

    • Aaron - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      No. Unless Hannigan gets injured, Mesoraco will only catch Leake and Bailey. He’ll pinch run (seriously, look it up) more than he’ll start. Then people will point out how good Hannigan’s Catcher ERA is. *sigh*

      • jm91rs - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        I like Hannigan better than Mesoraco when we’re talking about this year. He’s a just a better catcher and I feel like there’s no one on the team better when you need someone to make contact on a hit and run.

        For the future, sure Mesoraco is the guy and I’m happy he’s here to get better rather than Olivo hogging big league at bats. The Reds are all in this year, and I’m fine with Hannigan catching the majority of games. 2 years ago the Reds got great production out of Hernandez and Hannigan splitting time. I don’t see why they couldn’t get the same this year.

      • Aaron - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        I like Hanigan too. I’ve got no problem with him catching a bulk of the games. I do think, however, that Mesoraco needs to occasionally catch Cueto, Latos, and Arroyo. Not only will it help Mesoraco get into some sort of rhythm at the plate, but also to get comfortable with the other guys. Especially Cueto and Latos.

      • thomas844 - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        In Hanigan’s defense, he did throw out 48% of players attempting to steal on him and he had a solid OBP of .365. He is one of baseball’s most underrated players imo.

  2. contraryguy - Mar 27, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Not a huge surprise. Olivo will be 35 in July and hit .167 in spring games. The Reds kept Mez over Yasmani Grandal when they made their big Latos trade, so there’s some investment here that they’re not going to easily toss aside.

    • paperlions - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Yeah, but they are wasting it by putting him on the bench. It would be (and would have been last year) far better Mesoraco’s development to send him to AAA to have him play everyday. Having a talented prospect sit on the bench and get 200 PAs/year is exhibit A on how not to develop talent.

      • jm91rs - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        Big expectations from the Reds this year, Dusty doesn’t care much about the future. If Dusty is butting heads with Jockety as much as it sounds, I’d think Dusty’s leash is pretty short if they don’t have a great year.

        It would be better to be playing every day in AAA, but the Reds have done OK platooning catchers for a few years now and Dusty doesn’t have the time to wait for Olivo to come around.

      • paperlions - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Except, of course, you backup catcher isn’t very important. He almost never plays. So send down Mesoraco to AAA so he can play everyday and if Hanigan is hurt, then bring Mesoraco up to play everyday in the majors. Olivo should only ever be the backup. This is just a mis-use of developmental time….just like last year, if you have a prospect, then he needs to play….sitting him on the bench isn’t helping anyone this year or next.

      • contraryguy - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        It could also be argued that Mez needs to spend more time with the top club’s pitching staff. Send him to the minors and all he’s going to do is bat more.

      • paperlions - Mar 27, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        …and play defense more. There is no scenario in which sitting on the bench helps guys develop.

  3. chacochicken - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Dusty has been hinting that Jockety is really pushing some of these roster and lineup moves. Suggested just the other day the “he’s getting lots of help” or some such when writing down his line up card. Dusty just isn’t the same without Drew Stubbs.

  4. spudchukar - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Mesoraco isn’t a particularly good catcher, and he hasn’t shown any ability to hit major league pitching, other than that he is a promising prospect.

  5. yellowbandanaguy3060 - Mar 30, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Quick question and just want some options off topic a bit but if the Indians release Stubbs after signing Bourn shoukd we pick him back up? Since clearly Hamilton in my opinion is not close to being ready!

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