I’m just going to rip off the Band-Aid. Or rather, the surgical tape.

Devin Mesoraco is done catching for the Cincinnati Reds this year.

At least the odds are stacked against it. He’s got a painful condition that’s aggravated when he catches. It usually requires surgery to remedy, season-ending surgery.

Mesoraco has been diagnosed with a left hip impingement. And if the doctors have that part right, it’s not going to get better with rest. Bone spurs and cartilage don’t have blood vessels like muscle, so they can’t heal themselves.

That’s the best guess based on what we know about his condition. It could be wrong. I’m no medical expert. In more innocent times, hip impingement meant as much to me (nothing) as patella tendonosis and flexor mass strains.

The Catcher in the FAI

The hip is a joint. A long bone (femur) with a ball at the end joins with a second bone (pelvis or acetabulum) that is shaped like a socket. Simply put, two bones, ball in socket.

hipxrayThe socket has a fibrous lining or ring called the labrum. Think of it as an inner tube on a bike wheel. Its role is to keep the two bones apart and act as a shock absorber and stabilizer. If the joint operates properly, the ball moves smoothly inside the socket, sheathed by the labrum.

Impingement means the ball and socket fit together too tightly. This happens when a bone spur, an overgrowth or bump, develops on either the femur or pelvis. Repetitive motions with weight bearing loads, like squatting to catch a baseball, cause the spurs. The spurs tear the labrum, undercutting its prophylactic function. When the ball and socket rub together, it’s called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), and  it’s painful.

Spurs on the femur are called cam impingements. Spurs on the pelvis are called pincer impingement. An individual can have cam, pincer or both kinds of impingement. Cam impingement is more common in men.

The Cause

FAI is a curse of athleticism. It occurs in only a tiny number of non-athletes. But it is surprisingly common among elite male athletes, the ones who put tremendous pounding on their hip joints.

FAI is found with increasing frequency among professional athletes, including major league baseball players. According to the Baseball Prospectus database of injuries, in the 5-year period of 2002-06, about 1.5 players had hip surgery each year. From 2007-11, that number rose to 6.5 per season.

The reason for more cases is open to debate. The condition typically presents as groin pain, so in the past it was frequently misdiagnosed as a strain or sports hernia. Will Carroll, a sports injury expert, in a radio interview with Cincinnati’s Mo Egger yesterday said that only in the last eight years has MRI technology been advanced enough to see inside the hip joint.

Another theory is that sports specialization at young ages (11-15) promotes year-round repetitive pounding on the hip. Dr. John Christoforetti of the Allegheny Health Network points out that “regular sports participation by young males may change their hip bone shape for the rest of their lives.”

Chances are that Devin Mesoraco’s condition began back when he was playing for Punxsutawney Area High School or even before that. He joins Chase Utley, Alex Rodriguez and Troy Tulowitzski as notable major league FAI sufferers.

Treatment

The initial course of treatment is rest and avoidance of the activities that cause the symptoms. In Mesoraco’s case, that means stop catching for now. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs might be tried to reduce pain and inflammation. I spoke with a sports physical therapist who has worked on these cases, and he said specific exercises could improve hip motion and strengthen surrounding muscles in a way that can relieve stress on the injured labrum.

Those steps are all well and good. But the problem is most of the time they’re not enough. FAI is structural. Rest doesn’t reverse bone spur growth or cartilage tear. It’s not like a muscle strain. In the Reds catcher’s own words, “It’s not a pulled muscle or something you can easily do rehab to fix.” Non-surgical treatments are long shots. Once an athlete like Devin Mesoraco develops FAI, odds are he’s headed to surgery.

Surgery

Until recently, surgery meant intrusive scalpel cutting, laying the hip area open. Recovery times were 12-18 months. Fortunately, huge improvements in surgical technique have ahs2-320x238occurred in the past 15 years. Most of the time repair of the labrum and shaving down the cam or pincer spurs can be done with an arthroscope, on an outpatient basis.

More good news is the surgery works. Research conducted ten years ago by Dr. Marc Philippon, who is credited with developing the arthroscope technique, found that 93 percent of professional athletes returned to their sport after hip arthroscopy. With greater experience, recovery rates are even better today. Yesterday, Will Carroll described the surgery as having a “great record” of success.

Rehab and Prognosis

Devin Mesoraco’s exact diagnosis hasn’t been released yet and there is a range of possible conditions that could fall under the category of hip impingement. I spoke with a Yale-trained orthopedic surgeon who used to work for the Baltimore Orioles and is now a Reds fan. She said it makes a difference if the injury is just to the soft tissue (labrum) or if it involves the bone(s) with a cam or pincer lesion. The former involves a shorter recovery time.

Experience with treating the condition has also led to improvements in rehabilitation techniques. Recovery from hip arthroscopy generally takes 3-4 months, plus a few more weeks to get back into playing form. However, there are significant variances among doctors in rehab protocols. Many are increasingly aggressive, with some as short as eight weeks. A study of hockey players shows the average time from surgery to return to hockey drills was 3.4 months.

Short-term prospects for baseball players are positive as well. Major league players generally return to form in 4-6 months. Troy Tulowitzski (August 2014) said he felt good as new four months after surgery. He was ready to participate when spring training began six months later. Tulowitzski is hitting .321/.328/.551 as of today.

Equally important, surgery can provide long-term relief. Chase Ultey (2008) and Alex Rodriguez (2009) have avoided recurrence. Both are playing in their late 30s. When I asked the orthopedic surgeon about the incidence of recurrence, she pointed out that “hip scopes” were a relatively new approach. Because of that, she explained, there isn’t enough data yet to know about recurrence, especially for the narrow sub-category of baseball catchers.

***

You’ve got questions, good ones. Here’s the part of the post where we move from fact to opinion, from science to art, from research to Kremlinology.

So where are we?

There’s a small chance that a few weeks of rest will alleviate or, in Devin’s words, “calm down” the pain. It’s possible this was a temporary inflammation of the labrum. Mesoraco said this was the first time he’d felt the pain. If his condition can be managed, surgery could be delayed until the offseason.

Mesoraco might try to catch a game or two, maybe a simulated game, to see if the pain has subsided. But odds are we’ve seen the last of him catching for the Reds this year, at least on a regular basis. So much for the debate over whether he should catch 130 games or 140.

The most likely scenario is that Mesoraco will have surgery at some point this year and be ready to catch next year.

To point out how much of a body blow this is for the Reds chances to contend in 2015 is to state the obvious. That glorious vision of Joey Votto and Devin Mesoraco spending a season together crushing baseballs will have to wait a little bit longer.

Why haven’t the Reds put Mesoraco on the DL yet?

The Reds’ working theory seems to be that batting and running won’t aggravate the problem. It’s been reported that Mesoraco’s hip only hurts when he catches. Presumably, if his role stays limited to pinch hitting, Mesoraco can still accomplish the vast majority of the rest he’d have on the DL.

Further, it’s not like there’s a bat in AAA who would make an impact for the Reds. If the call-up’s main job would be to pinch hit, Devin Mesoraco is better at that. If the Reds had a solid bat to promote, Mesoraco would probably be on the DL right now.

The rehab process for hip arthroscopy is well known and well defined. With the end goal being Mesoraco being 100 percent for spring training next February, the Reds can wait for several months. As long as Mesoraco isn’t aggravating his condition by his limited role, this makes sense. Walt Jocketty will have landed his right-handed power bat off the bench.

Here’s the intriguing part. Through a scheduling quirk, the Reds play all their inter-league away games in the months of May (8) and June (2). The first of those takes place in Chicago two weeks from tomorrow. If the Reds delay Mesoraco’s surgery until the end of June, he would give them a legitimate designated hitter for those ten games. As you know, the Reds haven’t always had that.

Trying to guess what the Reds are going to do with Mesoraco is like figuring out Soviet leaders during the Cold War. But given the embarrassing lack of plausible pinch-hitting options at AAA and or other designated hitters (we’ve got Skip for that?), it makes sense to keep Mesoraco in the dugout for those roles the next two months. After that, use the knife endoscope and get him ready for 2016.

When I ran that theory by the orthopedic surgeon (again, she’s a Reds fan, one who had noticed Mesoraco grimacing), she seemed receptive, saying they could “definitely do it that way.”

And I think that’s what they’re up to. That’s why they let him pinch hit and blow the 10 days of DL backdating. Because they knew he isn’t going on the DL any time in the near future. Mesoraco hasn’t tried to catch again and the Reds already know he won’t go on the DL. They’ve got that pinch-hitting, DH role in mind.

So the Reds haven’t mismanaged the roster, seriously?

Their moves to this point have been defensible, even if their statements haven’t been fully candid. The notion that Mesoraco might get better by sitting out a couple days is fantasy. But I suspect they never believed that. Not after the doctors said hip impingement.

The case for a DL stint would have been this: Mesoraco wasn’t going to pinch hit for a week or so (the sitting out fantasy), they could have disabled him so Bryan Price wouldn’t have been short-handed. Put him on the DL right away and bring him back to pinch hit and DH in May and June.

About that contract extension? 

The orthopedic surgeon raised this point. Did the Reds make Mesoraco submit to an MRI prior to signing the his $28 million contract extension three months ago? She said that bony lesions would likely have been apparent even on a simple X-ray, although damage to the soft tissue would not. An MRI is necessary to catch labrum issues. She noted, before the Miami Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton to his long-term deal, they made him undergo an extensive “hours long” regimen of MRIs “top-to-bottom.” She said the Bengals do the same thing for players who show up for the combine. The MRIs are cheap compared to the guaranteed contracts.

Should the Reds plan on Mesoraco catching in 2016 and beyond?

The surgery should provide Mesoraco full relief. Bone spurs start when players are young and develop over a long period of time. Mesoraco can do exercises that help prevent recurrences. Utley and ARod, yada, yada, yada.

On the other hand, while FAI does occur in players at every position, catchers do have unique vulnerability. Catchers are subjected to extra weight on their hip joint due to squatting for extended periods of time. The physical therapist I spoke with (he’s also a big Reds fan) pointed out that Mesoraco often puts his full weight on his left hip, jamming his knee up tight. That’s a lot of pressure on the hip and an obvious risk of impingement. Examples of catchers (non-MLB) who have experienced FAI are easy to find.

Experts have highlighted catchers, along with dancers, hockey players and hurdlers as athletes who put more stress on their hips. Here’s an example: “A catcher has the most extreme and distinguishable lower body mechanics compared to other position players. The catcher’s stance requires the hips to assume an extreme of flexion combined with external rotation and abduction.” Dr. James Andrews, Sports Medicine of Baseball (2012).

A decision to move Mesoraco to LF is multifaceted. Who would catch? The Reds would almost certainly be a better team overall with Mesoraco catching and someone else, like Jesse Winker, playing LF. But that assumes Mes can stay healthy while catching. The orthopedic surgeon would like to see Mesoraco move to the outfield.

The Reds decision will be based on what they are told by their medical experts. If the doctors say the risk of recurrence is minimal, which is my overall impression from what I’ve read, then Mesoraco should and will return behind the plate. But it’s a risk and remember, the long-term data is scarce.

Hmm … Bryan Price’s profane explosion?

Now I get it.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 67 Comments

  1. Of course.

    • My son had double FAI surgery by Dr. Philippon. You can read about his story and success at http://www.myjourneythroughfai.com. Dr. P promised us that Danny would return to his sport if we followed his protocol . We did and he was right. Danny will be playing D1 basketball for the USAFA.
      Dr. P. Is a gift to medicine. His staff, Howard Head PT, were the best.

      • Thank you so much for posting the link to Danny’s story. Your son is an inspiration to those suffering from FAI and reading his story gave me some much needed hope. FAI has been extremely painful both physically and mentally. Being a mom, I can’t imaging having to watch your child suffer from this. I was a runner all my life (I cringe at the word was) and have a family to take care of so the long recovery part of FAI surgery is terrifying me. I have found a Dr. who studied under Dr. P and is supposed to be fantastic as well. So glad your son had the best there is. Thanks again for sharing Danny’s story and good luck to him at USAFA!

  2. I hope this isn’t a Bo Jackson situation bubbling up. I guess we should keep an eye on Tulo and his progression this year. That could give some indication on Mesoraco’s timetable for return to health. What a kick to the nads for Meso and Price.

    • Mesoraco’s condition is totally different than what happened to Bo Jackson, which started off as a dislocation. Hip impingement can mean a range of things, from mild to serious. If Mesoraco’s condition is within the normal range of what FAI is, there isn’t a lot of mystery about it. If Mes just started feeling the pain for the first time recently, then the chances are increased it isn’t too severe. But that’s all a big question mark publicly right now.

      • I agree with Steve, and without going into detail I know a lot about this condition. I also believe Mes is done catching this year and is 50/50 for years later IMO. When we are 7 games out in June, we need to have Mes go for surgery (and also trade Cueto, etc).

      • Great column–lots of info–pro and con –and options on both the pro and con along with long range baseball possibilities—DL-DH-LF–No matter what it turns out to be and how the Reds react and plan the future your column gives the caring Reds fan (that’s who reads this site) a feel for the tough decision the Reds organization will have to make.

      • Great research, Steve.

  3. while i trust your ability to throw out numbers that mean very little to me, I think you are way over your head here and talking to one doctor who has had no contact with the subject is a questionable method at the best

    • In fairness, I not only talked to one doctor, but researched the topic quite a bit. But you’re exactly right that none of us on the outside know exactly what his condition is, something I expressed in several ways in the post when talking about Devin. I conveyed the range of possibilities and expressed my conclusions as a probability, not certainty. I’d love to be wrong.

      • i was perhaps too harsh because I, too, hope you are wrong! I just hesitate anytime we try to understand medical conditions by visiting the university of Google. It’s why some parents are, idiotically, not vaccinating their kids because of an unfounded fear of autism. I teach current events and history, so please excuse me for bringing this up in a conversation about baseball. I appreciate your efforts!

      • In Steve’s defense, while my research did not go beyond Googling and reading, I think he has presented an even handed and perhaps even slightly optimistic view of the facts.

        The reading I did indicated that FIA is a precursor to early onset osteoarthritis of the joint. The underlying cause is a misfit or misalignment of the parts. Traditional surgeries short of joint replacement tended in the end to only provide relief lasting a limited number of years. The book is still out on the arthroscopic approach because it is relatively new.

        A major issue with Mesoraco is as Steve highlighted the fact that he catches means there is little to no data to analyze about outcomes in such a situation.

        What I would suggest the Reds might consider at this point is to get Meso to agree to a minor league assignment so he can keep getting swings (even the Reds teams often use the DH anymore) and also so he can take the first steps at learning LF. I believe he has an option remaining. If not they could DL him then immediately send him out on rehab for two weeks.

    • Steve went out and did the legwork in order to provide the RLN readers with a basic understanding of the topic at hand. The only thing appropriate to say is “thank you.”

  4. Very thorough and very depressing post. However, there is something I do not understand. If they Reds are going to keep Mesoraco on the roster as a pinch hitter then why don’t they actually use him? I believe he has only been to the plate one time since he stopped catching.

    Also, have either Fay or Rosecrans asked Price if Cingrani is injured?

    • Don’t know if they asked about Cingrani today.

      My only explanation for their lack of use of Mesoraco as a pinch hitter is this: they wanted to give him a clean week of no activity, then he had that family issue that took him home for a couple days, then they used him once, then they didn’t like the match-up.

      I agree it seems like they are underusing him. But any alternative theory is even more illogical. If they think he’s too hurt to hit, then why not DL him right away? And once it got to 10 days, why have him hit in a relatively low leverage situation?

      I think (guessing) they are going to start to use him more as a pinch hitter, but Price isn’t really used to having one dominant pinch hitter, so maybe he’s not comfortable with sending him up there. Like today leading off the ninth. Mesoraco has a better chance of getting on base than Schumaker. But Price might have been playing left-right matchup. That’s what I mean that Price isn’t used to having a RH hitter who is better against RHP than his LH hitters. Has to override the side concerns with talent. We’ll see.

      • He also may have been hoping someone would get on and then maybe he would have used Mes to PH for Hamilton even, the idea being that he may run into one.

      • Consider the game last night (Wednesday). The score is 1-1 at the top of the ninth and a home run gives the Reds the lead. Why not pinch hit Mesoraco over Skip? Mesoraco has far more power. Also, I have heard Price say very explicitly he does not believe in the left-right matchup. Of course, we all know what he has said about how he would use Chapman.

        I hope your theory is correct that he will at least get used as a DH when the Reds show up on the South Side. Mesoraco as a DH is very logical.

        • But using Schumaker over Des any situation is illogical. I suspect his injury hinders him enough for Price to view him to be this type of option. You put the hitter most likely to get on base and never go chasing homeruns. Otherwise its a dumb move if Des’ batting is unaffected by the injury, but cynically an expected move from what I have seen if Gregg is your number 2 out of the bullpen

  5. Throw the concussions on top of all this and general brittleness, and I can’t see how he isn’t moved from behind the plate. If he can play LF this year, I say try it. The upgrade over Boesch/Bryrd would outweigh the Pena at catcher downgrade. I really don’t think much of Devin as a defensive catcher anyway. I think he tries real hard but has anything but soft hands.

    • I have been a proponent of this for 3 years, I cannot see them doing it now.

      It is below the move Chapman to the starting rotation for this GM and Coaching Staff

      • Kind of random question, but they addressed this for about 5 minute on MLB network Wed. Heard ridiculous arguments against it, Harold Reynolds said why have him start when he can impact 80 or 90 games out of the pen and he saw him pitch the third time around in the order and hitters were much more effective, Al Lieter a little less ridiculous- he can get 60 appearances and 50 saves. The other guy suggesting that with his mechanics and smoothness that he looks durable enough to have the stamina to be a starter instigating the debate and after getting shot down- asked why not make Kershaw or Bumgarner a closer? They just shook their heads

    • agreed. you can see from watching Meso catch that he is coached and working hard to put the coaching to proper use; however, he just doesn’t have first class hands, maybe not even 2nd class hands unless one rates Peña as having 1st class hands because his are better than Meso’s.

      The same thing would probably be an issue at 1B taking the low throws.

      LF and/ or DH are probably his best bets looking forward

  6. Unlike Wyoredsfan, I think you did a pretty good job of explaining it. You did not any uninformed statement, and took the time to ask some opinions before drawing educated guesses about the situation. If one of my students had done this as an informative speech, I would stand and applaud and give them an A+. Not that you need my approval…

  7. Good post Steve. Rather this is exactly what is going on of course is only an educated guess on your part but you did your homework getting yourself educated the best you could. I had what was diagnosed as left knee impingement syndrome. It was diagnosed late and led to Osteoarthritis of the joint. That is pretty much what effectively ended my playing time even at the recreational level (especially behind the plate) and has led to my current chronic knee problems. I hope it is the case that Mesoraco really did only start feeling the pain recently and that medical professionals can get this sorted out. Quite honestly, if he has to miss a good part of a one season out of a promising career it wouldn’t be the end of the world for the young man, even if it is a blow to the Reds’ small chances this year. Thanks for posting this and for your work on it.

    • Yeah, the really dark news would be if Mes has arthritis in the joint. I read several places that would seriously jeopardize getting him back. What you say about your knee is also what I read about the hip. The longer it goes undiagnosed, the greater the odds of arthritis. We have to hope they caught it early.

      • He almost certainly has a labral tear, but he will not yet have arthritis that affects him in the next 5 years. He will likely get it by age 50 unless he has surgery soon.

  8. Thanks for the very detailed article Steve. When I heard Mesoraco had been diagnosed with Hip Impingement a couple days ago, and went and read about it on Webmd.com it sounded very serious and understood why he was so worried. It’s good to hear from your article the prognosis for recovery after surgery is good.

  9. Bryd in right and Mes in left sounds like a winner to me. Bruce can pinch-hit or be traded.

  10. It at least makes sense, Steve. Thanks for the details. I can tell you did your research.

  11. Rally leader is Billy with 2, Votto, DaDude and Byrd 1 each. Interested in a rally by getting on base are Frazier, Cozart and Pena. Shows up only: Bruce. *
    * – Last two games

  12. Reds’ quack Med Staff strikes again! How has this condition not been detected before two weeks ago, when this player just signed a big extension?

  13. The elephant in the room is past history. No one is saying it but gee, the injury may change but the same cast of characters are handling it from the information/decision making side.

  14. Well, not for this year, but looking further out, this could end up being a good thing for the Reds. I am trying to think of, I am assuming that Devin won’t be catching anymore, period. For, some have said, and I do agree, that Devin may be athletic enough to learn another position. So, what about left field? Or, maybe 3rd base and move Todd to his favorite position (of course, provided Devin can handle the hot corner)? Or, maybe first and let Votto go (he’s going to go sometime)? Or, maybe work on him learning 2nd base (can you imagine someone trying to slide into him to break up a double play)?

    As for us now, I assume that obviously moves Tucker up. He was hitting well at Louisville. I wonder how much time he will get playing. He has always been known for his defense. And, I don’t think Pena can take catching everyday.

    • I like Tucker vs righties. He put up a 278/342/364 line last year in AAA vs righties and a 280/380/375 line in Pensacola in 2013. His overall numbers are dragged down by the fact that he can’t hit lefties to save his life. 172/194/234 vs lefties in 2013 and 138/242/155 last year. Makes you wonder why he still switch hits. He couldn’t be any worse vs lefties from the left side than he is from the right.

      Of course, Pena is also better from the left side, but it’s not the huge difference that Barnhart has. And Tucker looks like a plus defender, while Pena isn’t really above average at anything.

    • What makes you think Votto is “going to go sometime?” Unless he puts up 8.0 WAR this year, his contract is too much for anyone to trade for, considering the Reds will want more than salary relief for their former MVP.

  15. Wow! Starting to look like the Reds should never extend anyone. What are the odd that every single long term extension goes on the DL?

  16. Didn’t Votto used to play LF? It may be a stretch, but any thought of putting him in LF and Meso to 1B? Not sure which is harder to adjust to, but it would seem that the wear and tear on a player is less at 1B than LF, but it’s probably a wash. Don’t want to screw up Votto’s great start (not sure that’s possible) but there’s no chance the Reds stay contenders w/o Meso’s bat in the line up on a regular basis.

    • Votto appeared in LF some in the minors. His second or third year up there was talk about him playing LF to open 1B for Yonder Alonso. It went no where because JV clearly felt that ship had sailed. It about five years ago and his knee issues later now so I don’t see him doing? It is Meso’s job to make the switch to LF.

    • Votto also did some catching in his early years.

    • He played a little in LF his rookie season too. He wasn’t very good at it. He’s an MVP 1B so I really wouldn’t want to move him. Besides, I’m not so sure that Mes wouldn’t be a better LF if it really had to come down to that.

  17. Melee in Chicago. Quite the bench clearing.

    • You should have seen the ESPN guys on Baseball Tonight analyze the brawl. It was comical. Perez and Braden were actingly like they were doing battlefield damage assessments. They’d roll the tape a second or two, stop it and start their analysis up. They were breaking down the brawl step by step. Kansas City sure is doing alot to erase any feel good from last year. KC may be trying to bring Thug Ball to MLB. Our ole buddy, Edison Volquez, is going to get a long suspension. Talk about swings and misses.

      • Not a lot going on between Edison’s ears. I like the make-up of that team but they have to get a couple of their young pitchers (Ventura & Herrera) under control. KC has been HBP something like 18 times in 16 games. That isn’t real healthy for your position players.

        • And 14 of those 16 have been Moustakas, Cane, and Hosmer, if memory serves.

  18. Oh no! I just thought of something I do not like. If you read the Joey Votto orthopedic analysis by Steve in the The Big Reds Preview and an earlier post on this blog from last summer, it turns out to be eerily accurate. I hope this posting does not turn out the same way. If so, it could be a long summer.

  19. Jocketty could do some one-stop shopping in Boston. Ryan Hanigan is available, Jackie Bradley, Jr. for LF and Anthony Varvaro for the bullpen.
    Mike Leake, pack your bags for Boston.

    • Haha wishful thinking. When was the last time the Reds successfully traded for a bat? Choo was a one year rental so maybe Phillips?

  20. Ryan Hanigan is not an option. He was a terrible hitter when he was here. I liked the guy, and good catcher, but Tucker fits that bill. And is a lot younger.

  21. It’s time for the NL to adopt the DH.

  22. If Mesoraco can hit and run, but just can’t catch, I’m all for trying him in the outfield. Let him have the surgery in the offseason.

  23. Once again: sign a guy to an extension, pretty quickly lose his services. Mesoraco, Bailey, Votto, Marshall, Ludwick are just the most prominent examples. That can’t help but influence Castellini’s thinking on a Cueto extension. Some probably view that as a good thing.

  24. I like your story. Thorough as always. But I have to disagree with one thing you said. Mesoraco could be healthy and hit 35 homers and the Reds would still not contend. Too many glaring weaknesses.

  25. Let him learn left field on the fly. At worst, he’ll look like Byrd out there – inept and lost. I’m only half kidding.

  26. Troy Tulowitzki… spell his name right.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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